On March 11, 2020, the NHL regular season was put on hold due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Fast forward to the present. For two and a half months, there haven’t been any professional sports. Nothing.
Then, there was some movement, NASCAR held three races in the past two weeks (albeit without any spectators). The World of Outlaws held two weekends of races during the month of May. First, with no fans in the grandstands, and then last weekend with a limited number of fans.
More good news. The PGA tour will resume play, minus spectators, on June 11-14 at the Colonial Golf Course. So, there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel.
Tuesday, the NHL announced that it had canceled the rest of the regular season and will go straight into the playoffs with 24 teams instead of 16 “if” the NHL can resume play. This development gives NHL fans a sliver of hope for a conclusion to the 2019-20 season.
This past week, NHL has laid out a four-phase plan before they can resume play.
Phase 1 – The players that are involved players, and others enter self-quarantine.
Phase 2 – In early June teams will be permitted to return to their home’s facilities.
Phase 3 – No earlier than the first half of July, formal training will begin after guidance from medical and civil authorities. According to CBS, this can’t happen before July 10, 2020.
Phase 4 – Twenty-four teams in two hub cities will compete in the seeding round robin. A qualifying round and a conference based Stanley Cup playoffs.
The following hub cities are under consideration: St. Paul, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Toronto, and Vancouver. The NHL will pick two out of the group.
This week, the Commissioner of the NHL, Gary Bettman walked us through the tentative plan. Watching the video, you can see there are a lot of things that need to be worked out before the Stanley Cup Playoffs can take place.
Qualifying Round, Eastern Conference
(6) Hurricanes vs. (11) Rangers
The Rangers lead the season series 0-4-0.
(7) Islanders vs. (10) Panthers
Islanders lead the season series 3-0-0.
(5) Penguins vs. (12) Canadiens
The Penguins lead the season series 2-1-0
(8) Maple Leafs vs. (9) Blue Jackets
The season series is tied 1-1-0.
The winners of the qualifying round will advance to face one of the following teams: Boston, Tampa, Washington, or Philadelphia.
Qualifying Round, Western Conference
(5) Oilers vs. (12) Blackhawks
The Blackhawks lead the season series 2-1-0.
(6) Predators vs. (11) Coyotes
The two teams split the season series 1-1-0.
(7) Canucks vs. (10) Wild
The Wild lead the series 2-1-0.
(8) Flames vs. (9) Jets
The Jets won the only meeting between the two teams.
The winners of the qualifying round will advance to face one of the following teams: Blues, Avalanche, Golden Knights, and Stars.
Here’s the link for Hockey-Reference. This is an awesome site for stats and records.
Stanley Cup Odds
For those that like to play DraftKings and other online betting, here are the odds for the Stanley Cup.