NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced on Tuesday that when the league is given an all-clear from a medical standpoint, the playoffs will begin. 24 of the league’s 31 teams will make the playoffs with 12 teams representing the Eastern Conference and 12 teams in the Western Conference.
The playoffs will be held in two “hub cities,” to be determined at a later date.
* The 2019-20 regular season is declared concluded through games of March 11. The 189 games originally scheduled from March 12 – April 4 will not be played.
* 24 teams will resume play: the top 12 in each Conference on the basis of points percentage at the pause (through games of March 11).
* Since the League’s pause on March 12, the League has been in Phase 1 with teams having been instructed to self-isolate as much as possible.
Phase 2 – Early June
* In early June, it is expected that teams will be permitted to return to home facilities for small group, voluntary, and on- and off-ice training.
Phase 3 – Not Earlier than First Half of July
* Not earlier than first half of July, formal training camps will begin after guidance from medical and civil authorities.
Phase 4 – Timing TBD
* 24 teams in 2 “hub” cities will compete in Seeding Round Robins, a Qualifying Round and Conference-based Stanley Cup Playoffs.
* The 2 “hub” cities will be selected from among the following:
– Chicago, IL
– Columbus, OH
– Dallas, TX
– Edmonton, AB
– Las Vegas, NV
– Los Angeles, CA
– Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN
– Pittsburgh, PA
– Toronto, ON
– Vancouver, BC
* In each Conference, teams seeded by points percentage.
Round Robin: The top 4 teams play for First Round seeding (regular-season overtime rules in effect)
Qualifying Round: The remaining 8 teams play best-of-5 series to advance to the First Round (playoff overtime rules in effect)
First Round and Second Round: Format (seeding vs. bracket) and series lengths to be determined
Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Final: Best-of-7 series
* Timing and sites will be determined at a future date and will be dependent on COVID-19 conditions, testing ability and government regulations.