The NHL is experimenting with different ideas for the playoffs, and if it’s a 24-team tournament, the Montreal Canadiens may catch teams by surprise.
Things may get pretty goofy in the NHL if there comes a time where it starts up again. With the league on pause, NHL owners are discussing how the rest of the year is going to play out. The initial belief was that it would be about a week or two before training and practice facilities open up. However, with the new recommendation from the Cente of Disease Control, it looks as if we may go even longer without watching the Montreal Canadiens play.
The CDC announced their recommendation on Sunday that all events with 50 or more people should be cancelled or postponed for the next eight weeks. The NHL may be able to get away with that if they ban fans from arenas. However, they would scratch the max line when taking into account both teams, coaching staff, management, and building staff, to name a few.
If that’s the case, we won’t see NHL hockey until May. It’ll be tough to see the NHL want to have a regular-season play out in May if there needs to be time to have a mini-training camp for players to get back in the groove of things. Therefore, the league is exploring a scenario where the NHL jumps right into the playoffs.
Darren Dreger touched on some of these alternatives already, including an event where the top 16 teams in the league make the playoffs.