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Capitals would receive first-round playoff bye in latest NHL return plan

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Capitals would receive first-round playoff bye in latest NHL return plan

The latest NHL return-to-play state of affairs being mentioned would embody 24 groups, however reasonably than begin with a round-robin event, as was reported final weekend, the league would go straight into the playoffs and provides eight groups first-round byes — together with the Washington Capitals.

That doesn’t imply that Capitals gamers are significantly enthused by the thought.
In an interview on NBC Sports Network Thursday, Capitals defenseman John Carlson admitted he didn’t love the thought of a 24-team postseason, which is eight greater than the standard choice of 16 groups.

“I think that they’re kinda jogging all their options right now and leaving the doors open for any potential scenario,” Carlson mentioned. “I think 24 teams sounds like a lot of teams to me, if I’m being honest. But you’ve got to think about all phases of it, not just the playoffs and those games before the playoffs. How are they gonna be played out? You’ve got to make sure that there’s some level playing field in terms of intensity, and you don’t want some teams to be mailing it in when others are prepping themselves for a playoff run.”

It adopted comparable opinions Carlson shared in a radio interview Wednesday, when he mentioned he hoped the league would strike the best stability between together with groups that have been on the perimeter of creating the playoffs and never bringing in too many.

“There could be potential issues if they do let too many teams into it that really don’t have any chance and tell them after a couple months’ layoff that they’ve got to be in midseason to late-season form — knowing that your season’s going to end within two or three weeks and you’re gonna have another couple months off,” Carlson mentioned Wednesday. “I think that can be problematic.”

According to a number of experiences, the league and the gamers’ affiliation are a format that may embody the highest 12 groups from every convention primarily based on factors share via March 12, when the season was suspended.

The prime 4 groups in the Eastern and Western Conferences would get byes, whereas the No. 5 seeds would play the No. 12 seeds, No. 6 vs. No. 11 and so forth in a best-of-five play-in spherical. After that, the playoffs would return to a best-of-seven sequence in every spherical.

The league would rank groups by factors share reasonably than whole factors as a result of on the time the season was suspended as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, not all groups had performed the identical variety of video games.

The talks surrounding this format didn’t embody the logistical obstacles of the place and what number of “hub cities” or “bubbles” will probably be wanted, how usually gamers would be examined or when the video games would begin.

Under this format, the Capitals would be the No. Three seed out of the Eastern Conference, forward of divisional rival Philadelphia and behind solely Boston and Tampa Bay. They would draw both the No. 6 Carolina Hurricanes — who knocked them out of the primary spherical final 12 months — or the No. 11 New York Rangers — with whom Washington has a protracted postseason historical past.

Last weekend, experiences mentioned that the game was a 24-team restart plan that would start with 4 six-team spherical robin tournaments to whittle it all the way down to a 16-team discipline for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Whatever finally ends up being the case, it will likely be a conclusion to a season in contrast to another, not just for the NHL however for all different sports activities leagues that halted play when the COVID-19 pandemic turned an issue in North America.

The NHL Players’ Association will get a say in the negotiations; experiences mentioned the NHLPA govt board would maintain a name Thursday evening to debate format choices. But finally, there may not be tons of wiggle room. Nicklas Backstrom advised a Swedish outlet this week that the expanded playoff “will probably be the only option” NHL gamers have.

On Tuesday, earlier than the latest proposal got here to gentle, the Nashville Predators’ Matt Duchene argued in opposition to resuming the season in any respect, warning that whichever group wins the 2020 Stanley Cup would be unfairly dogged by an asterisk.

“You don’t want to have a ‘COVID Cup,’ and I’m worried that if we come back and try and force this thing and it’s a little gimmicky and it’s not quite right, whoever wins the Cup is going to have people try and take it away from them their whole lives,” Duchene mentioned. “And they don’t deserve that … Our game is one of the games that has the most integrity in the world and I know our guys are going to want this to mean something if we do come back.”
“I think the integrity of our game has to be maintained,” he added.

If this format is agreed upon, the Eastern Conference playoff bracket would appear like this:

First-round byes:

1. Boston Bruins (.714)

2. Tampa Bay Lightning (.657)

3. Washington Capitals (.652)

4. Philadelphia Flyers (.645)

Opening sequence:

5. Pittsburgh Penguins vs. 12. Montreal Canadiens, winner performs Flyers

6. Carolina Hurricanes vs. 11. New York Rangers, winner performs Capitals

7. New York Islanders vs. 10. Florida Panthers, winner performs Lightning

8. Toronto Maple Leafs vs. 9. Columbus Blue Jackets, winner performs Bruins

If you’re , that is what the Western bracket would appear like:

First-round byes:

1. St. Louis Blues (.662)

2. Colorado Avalanche (.657)

3. Vegas Golden Knights (.606)

4. Dallas Stars (.594)

Opening sequence:

5. Edmonton Oilers vs. 12. Chicago Blackhawks, winner performs Stars

6. Nashville Predators vs. 11. Arizona Coyotes, winner performs Golden Knights

7. Vancouver Canucks vs. 10. Minnesota Wild, winner performs Avalanche

8. Calgary Flames vs. 9. Winnipeg Jets, winner performs Blues

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