NHL may use Las Vegas as a location for 24 team playoff format

Golden Knights

BOSTON, MA – MAY 23: Boston Bruins players skate around the Stanley Cup logo on the ice during warmups before a scrimmage ahead of the start of the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Finals at TD Garden in Boston on May 23, 2019. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – If reports/rumors are true the NHL has a very unique plan to return to play. Las Vegas would be a major player in this scenario.

The plan goes something like this. The NHL would go straight to the Stanley Cup Playoffs and they would be held in at least two cities, Las Vegas and Edmonton. More cities could be added to this mix, and likely would be. 24 teams would participate (the NHL really wants Montreal and Chicago in the Playoffs), 12 teams would go to each city. There would be 3 games per day with one day off between games. No fans at the games. This plan is in place mainly to guarantee the NHL gets its TV revenue.

Here’s how Sportsnet Canada says the playoffs would work:

The top four seeds (based on points percentage) in the East would be Boston, Tampa Bay, Washington and Philadelphia. Top four in the West would be St. Louis, Colorado, Vegas and Dallas.

They would receive byes through the play-in, but participate in a three-game tournament to get some action. I confess I’m not certain of all the details on if or how it would affect playoff seeding.

The rest of the playoffs would be “bracketed.” That means, in both conferences 5 vs. 12, 6 vs. 11, 7 vs. 10, and 8 vs. 9.

So that would mean an Eastern Conference opening round of:

• 5. Pittsburgh vs. 12. Montreal (winner plays four seed)
• 6. Carolina vs. 11. Rangers (winner plays three seed)
• 7. Islanders vs. 10. Florida (winner plays two seed)
• 8. Toronto vs. 9. Columbus (winner plays one seed)

And a Western Conference opening round of:

• 5. Edmonton vs. 12. Chicago (winner plays four seed)
• 6. Nashville vs. 11. Arizona (winner plays three seed)
• 7. Vancouver vs. 10. Minnesota (winner plays two seed)
• 8. Calgary vs. 9. Winnipeg (winner plays one seed)

The play-in series would be a best-of-five. The rest of the playoffs would be best-of-seven.

Nothing is set in stone with this scenario and the NHL Players Association would have to approve it. Discussions are scheduled to continue today between the League and the NHLPA.

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