Exciting news everyone, from noon until past midnight (or 10am to 11pm for us Mountain timers) you’ll have the opportunity to do nothing but watch hockey.
The plan is to play three games a day both in Edmonton and Toronto and the timetable template in local times is to schedule those games at noon, 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Now, keep in mind the two-hour time difference between Edmonton and Toronto. It means basically there’s going to be six games a day spread out over a 15-hour window, if not longer.
That sounds damn good to me and having games in other time zones is paying off.
Of course the immediate question is what about Overtime and Bob McKenzie’s thoughts are:
In the preliminary round, when you’ve got four placement teams in the East and the West – the top four teams in each conference – playing seeding games, there isn’t unlimited overtime. So, what they will do there, they’ll just use regular season overtime and shootout. They would put those games in the 4:00 spot to try and make up time if the first game of the day goes really long, or to give yourself a finite finish time so that it can get to the evening game.
So yeah, there might be some time changes. There is the potential for it to be a mess, but it’s controlled as best they can if they want to keep with a three game per city per day schedule going, and by round two there will be more flexibility.
Interestingly enough it seems the people working the hardest during this process are the ones you’ll be yelling at the most…
NHL will put 10 referees and 10 linesmen in each hub city…40 officials in total…in the same isolation as all the players…enough bodies for 3 games a day plus standby.
That's where they will start for the play-in and rounds 1 and 2.
— John Shannon (@JShannonhl) July 7, 2020
So basically one group will be always pulling duty on back to back days. That’s kinda rough. That lets up after the round robins are done and hopefully for the officials sake not every series in the qualifying round will go five games. By round two it starts making more sense, but we’ll see how many officials get sent home after each round.
There have also been some concerns raised around the quality of the ice in the summer, with multiple NHL calibre games being played on it every day. While it may not be ideal, it would still have to fall somewhere better than outdoor game ice, and presumably they will shift the noon an evening game participants so each team gets a fair turn on the good ice or playing at the ideal time.
For now I’m just jazzed that we’ll get a wall of hockey on our televisions, and potentially I’ll be having a morning coffee while watching the Leafs. August can’t come soon enough.