Earlier today, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman addressed the return of hockey this summer to conclude the 2019-20 NHL season. Under this 24-team plan, the Blue Jackets would play the Toronto Maple Leafs in a best-of-five playoff qualifying series to determine the more traditional 16-team Stanley Cup playoff series format.
OFFICIALLY OFFICIAL!— x-Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) May 26, 2020
See you soon, @MapleLeafs. pic.twitter.com/r9OuyaaNHj
The Leafs and Jackets split two of their three regular-season games all the way back in October, with the third game postponed due to Covid-19.
While Bettman’s official address on the matter confirms that the league is inching towards a return, several other factors still remain unresolved.
Let me clarify by saying another NHL source says this is still being discussed internally as far as whether the round-robin/play-in for record-keeping purposes will be considered playoffs or not. For now, they're saying it's a Qualifying Round to get into the 1st Rd of playoffs https://t.co/iaptpdqols— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) May 26, 2020
Columbus is considered one of 10 possible NHL ‘hub’ cities for hosting playoff games, with it likely to come down to two cities that will host games.
BREAKING: NHL's Bettman: Two cities will serve as game hubs. Vancouver, BC on the shortlist pic.twitter.com/ARxSd0elZi— Chris Daniels (@ChrisDaniels5) May 26, 2020
Per NHL commissioner Gary Bettman's announcement, 24 teams -- the top 12 in each conference based on points percentage -- will resume play at a future date in two hub cities. That does include the #CBJ.— Jeff Svoboda (@JacketsInsider) May 26, 2020
Bettman continued: Teams will be allowed to travel 50 people to each hub city with a very limited amount of support staff. #NHL Training Camps are expected to open in early July.— Dave Maetzold (@DMaetzMedia) May 26, 2020
Columbus is on the list of hubs cities under consideration.
NHL GMs' call went 1 hour 10 minutes. Sources say league unveiled 24-team format but couldn't give specific dates, which GMs had hoped for. Phase 3 (training camps) won't open before July, but no specific date (anywhere from July 1-15 start?) Phase 2 anywhere from June 1-8 start?— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) May 26, 2020
Full details can be found here.
Procedures for the draft lottery - to be held on June 26 - can be found here.
Be sure to keep up with The Cannon for more updates! What do you think about this match-up with Toronto?
What is your initial prediction for a Columbus/Toronto playoff qualifying series?
This poll is closed
Jackets in 3
Jackets in 4
Jackets in 5
Leaves in 3
Leaves in 4
Leaves in 5