On Monday, we learned about a rumoured playoff format that would see 24 teams in the big dance, with eight teams getting byes to the second round and the other sixteen playing in a play-in round.
According to Chris Johnston of Sportsnet, this format would involve three-game playoff series, allowing it to fit into a smaller window of time while also not leaving anybody out who was in the race for a playoff spot. Apparently, this is the preferred route of NHL executives.
On Tuesday, according to Frank Seravalli on Insider Trading, some of the league’s top players came together to come up with their own idea of how the league should move forward…
Though it doesn’t involve a specific playoff proposal, the players are suggesting that the league get rolling again in early July with a training camp before finishing the 2019-20 regular season in late July. That would then leave August and September for the standard month-and-a-half long playoffs with the draft and free agency coming in October. Finally, the 2021-22 season would begin in November.
If this were the plan, it would be easiest just to scrap the remaining 2019-20 regular-season games. As much as the players want to his 82 games, for the sake of hitting bonuses or players hitting milestones or records or whatever else, it just doesn’t seem feasible. The biggest priority right now is getting the playoffs in and a Stanley Cup awarded.
The biggest issue here is the lack of an off-season. It would be an absolute gauntlet for the players who went deep into the playoffs in August and September to be coming back for games in November. I don’t disagree with the idea of pushing the 2020-21 regular season back to accommodate the 2019-20 playoffs, but November would be ambitious if playoff games were going into September.
I would scrap the regular season, start playoffs in July, finish them by the end of August, do the draft and free agency in September, and start-up training camp in early November.