The Lightning – and the rest of the NHL – have decided how to complete its season, after being forced to shut down in March
The NHL will resume play with a total of 24 teams – 12 teams from the Western Conference and 12 teams from the Eastern Conference, Gary Bettman announced. The top four teams will be guaranteed a playoff spot, one of them being the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference. All four team will play a round robin styled tournament for seeding, while the other 16 teams play a five-game series to decide who makes it to the playoffs.
The plan in motion will include one hub city for each conference, all to be names at a later date. However, Bettman did provide a list of ten candidates. Here they are, in no specific order:
Bettman says each hub will have its own designated hotel, arena, practice facility, and dedicated transportation. The cities that are selected will be chosen based on Covid-19 conditions, testing options and local regulations.
The NHL’s restart plan is currently at phase one, which ensures players self-isolate. Phase two, starting June, will resume small group training. Phase three, which could come as late as July, would allow the opening of official training camps. As you likely already know, all phase time frames could be changed based on Covid-19 conditions. While there’s no guarantee the NHL season will resume, Bettman made it clear it’s heading in the right direction, “Let me assure you the reason we are doing this is that fans are telling us in overwhelming numbers that they want us to complete the season, if at all possible, and our players and teams are clear that they want to play to bring the season to its rightful conclusion.
” The NHL’s plan comes as MLB continues to negotiate with its player’s union on the details of its return- to-play plan.