The NHL and NHL Players' Association are mulling a return to action this summer with a playoff format featuring 24 teams in a conference-based setup, SportsNet reported Wednesday night. "Several details remain to be negotiated and an agreement on the format would still be subject to the parties reaching agreement on all issues relevant to resuming play".
Players have been at odds with the league over return, with some questioning what the impact will be on the sport.
Fans will not be allowed and logistics remain a work in progress.
Commissioner Gary Bettman this week said the league was looking at eight or nine locations to serve as hub cities for the resumption of the season.More news: GNA takes military camp south of Tripoli
We'll see if the teams and format get approved later today or tonight.
Those play-in series would determine which teams advance to a traditional 16-team Stanley Cup Playoff bracket, which would feature seven-game series. The 2019-20 campaign was halted with 189 games left on the slate, while clubs had played anywhere from 68 to 71 contests.
The NHL season has been on pause since March 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the West, the best-of-five matchups would include Edmonton versus Chicago, Nashville versus Arizona, Vancouver versus Minnesota, and Calgary versus Winnipeg.More news: Patrick Ewing Tests Positive For Coronavirus
The fourth seed in each conference would face the victor of the matchup between the 5 and 12 seeds, with the No. 3 seed taking on the victor of the 6-11 matchup.
Based on that, the top four seeds in the Eastern Conference would be the Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers. Buffalo would be guaranteed to miss the playoffs for a league-high ninth straight season, while all three California team would fail to make the cut in the same year for the first time since 1995-96.
Have to admit I preferred a proposal previously doing the rounds, in which the teams were split into four groups of six (divisions, with the possibility of one wild card switching over in each conference).More news: Jets signing quarterback Joe Flacco to one-year deal