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Report: NHLPA approves Return to Play NHL playoff format – Colorado Hockey Now

May 22, 2020

Our friends at sister sites Boston Hockey Now and Pittsburgh Hockey Now have been working their sources hard today about the ongoing NHLPA vote as to whether to accept a reported 24-team playoff format (dates and location still to be determined) and both sites are reporting that the plan was narrowly approved.

This has yet to be officially announced by the NHLPA, but where there’s smoke…

Earlier in the day, old friend Bob “Big Dog” McKenzie tweeted that the plan was expected to pass.

Over here at Colorado Hockey Now, I had a pretty high-powered agent tell me that he was still unsure whether it had passed, but he also spent much of the day traveling. I’ve been a bit out of commission the last few days, dealing with some back issues. (The gist: I basically have to try and overcome my latest issues surrounding a couple of discs with pilates and other physical therapy. And if that doesn’t work, my last resort is fusion surgery, which the doc told me only has about a 60-70% chance of working).

The reported format of 24 teams have two hub cities, 12 teams each, and the top four clubs in each conference get a first-round bye. The Avalanche would be one of those teams.

The proposal would have the top four conference teams (based on points percentage) playing each another for seeding, while the remaining 16 teams would play best-of-five series in a play-in round. The play-in round would have the No. 5 seed vs. No. 12 (with the winner advancing to play the fourth seed), No. 6 vs. No. 11 (winner plays the third), No. 7 vs. No. 10 (winner plays the second), and No. 8 vs. No. 9 (winner plays the first). That would leave 16 teams to play for the Stanley Cup. There reportedly have been some disagreements of those within the NHLPA about the format, but as everyone has said: there is no perfect solution, in a time of global pandemic.

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The brackets would, based on current points percentages, look like this:

Eastern Conference
Pittsburgh Penguins (5) vs. Montreal Canadiens (12)
Carolina Hurricanes (6) vs. New York Rangers (11)
New York Islanders (7) vs. Florida Panthers (10)
Toronto Maple Leafs (8) vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (9)

Top seeds: Boston (1), Tampa Bay (2), Washington (3), Philadelphia (4)

Western Conference
Edmonton Oilers (5) vs. Chicago Blackhawks (12)
Nashville Predators (6) vs. Arizona Coyotes (11)
Vancouver Canucks (7) vs. Minnesota Wild (10)
Calgary Flames (8) vs. Winnipeg Jets (9)

Top seeds: St. Louis (1), Colorado (2), Vegas (3), Dallas (4)

I’ll have more to say on this, maybe even a bit later, once things are actually official.

I think we’re still at least more than a full month away from having any kind of hockey game played, so don’t be grabbing your Avs jerseys out of the closet just yet. But, at least there’s some real hope now.

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