The NHL Playoff Format Is Taking Shape

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PITTSBURGH - MAY 04: The NHL logo behind the net during the game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the New York Rangers prior to game five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2008 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 4, 2008 at the Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Just over a week ago, the NHL announced its return-to-play format. In that plan, they laid out some details of the NHL playoff format. On Thursday, they announced more details of the format. They announced weather or not they should use re-seeding or a bracket and how long each round of the playoffs should be. We got the answers to that on Thursday and it’s exciting news for the hockey world. The NHL playoff format is taking shape and we’re all here for it.

The NHL Playoff Format Is Taking Shape

Series Length

When NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced the return-to-play format, he spoke about the playoffs and what it would look like. He knew the qualifying round would be best-of-five and had an idea that the conference final and Stanley Cup Final would be best-of-seven but what about the first and second rounds? We got the answers today as they announced more details on the format. All rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs will be played in the best-of-seven format except the qualifying rounds, which will be best-of-five. A lot of people were relieved that this is the case and felt better about the format. 

Seeding Format

Another part to be determined was whether they should re-seed the playoff or remain with a bracket-style playoff. For this season, they decided to dig up a past format and re-seed teams before round one starts. There’s one difference and it’s that they will be re-seeding each team after every round. In each round, the highest remaining seed in each conference will face the lowest remaining seed, the second-highest remaining seed will face the second-lowest remaining seed and so on. People are on-board with reseeding and some even believe it should be here to stay. It gives us a sense of fairness to teams who have worked hard to get where they are.

Phase Two

Also on Thursday, the NHL announced that phase two will go into effect on June eighth. Phase two states that each club is permitted to open their training facilities in their home town under the protocol. One of the protocols is that each workout will be in small groups (minimum of six players) with a limited amount of staff. This is all voluntary as the NHL wants players to do what they feel is comfortable for them at this time. 

The Last Shot

The first half of the plan is taking care of but there’s still a lot to discuss before the return of hockey is official. This includes phase three and four of the plan, which is safety protocols and precautions to start the playoffs. The league is slowly examining what is happening and is aiming to start training camps no later than mid-July. Everyone is awaiting the return to hockey and that’s if the guidelines will allow them to. This is a huge step in the right direction to get the players back on the ice and play the game we all love and enjoy to watch.

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