BOSTON (CBS) — Last week, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced the NHL’s plans to return to action, though not every detail had been finalized. On Thursday, some of the blanks were filled in.
The NHL will hold best-of-seven series in all four rounds of the postseason. Previously, the NHL had only announced that the conference finals and Stanley Cup Final would be best-of-seven, leaving open the possibility of best-of-five series in the first two rounds. That, though, will not be happening, thus maintaining the usual 16-win grind that is required to win the Stanley Cup.
The league will also be reseeding after each round, instead of following a bracket format. That means that the highest remaining seed in each conference will play the lowest remaining seed every round. That format goes against the NHL’s normal playoff format of separating teams by division, with one wild card team joining each of the four division’s playoff brackets.
NHL/NHLPA have put finishing touches on format agreement announced last week. Among the open issues resolved:
_ both sides have agreed that it will be best-of-7 in all four playoff rounds (best of 5 in play-in round)
– Teams will be re-seeded after each round (not bracketed)
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) June 4, 2020
The NHL hopes to open training camps in early-to-mid July, with games in host cities (one for each conference) to begin later in the month. Once games return, 16 teams from each conference will begin play. The top four teams in each conference will play each other once each in a round robin tournament to determine seeding, while the remaining 12 teams in each conference will play each other in best-of-five series in order to make the postseason.