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2020 Stanley Cup playoffs

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The NHL and the Players' Association are reported to have reached an agreement to set up a playoff system to determine a Stanley Cup winner in 2020.

From what I hear, only 24 teams will be allowed to participate.  Though I haven't seen any specific identification of the seven teams that would not qualify for the playoffs, I would guess that it would be the seven that had the lowest standings point totals at the time regular season play was suspended.  Those would be Buffalo, New Jersey, Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Jose, Ottawa, and Detroit.

There are still a lot of details to be worked out, such as when and where the games could be played, to say nothing of how to get players across currently closed national boundaries to rejoin their teams.

Perhaps the first thing they will need to do is figure out how to quiet the screaming from the Sabres and the Devils.  They each had 68 points when play was suspended, which put them three points behind the 24th-place Montreal Canadiens.  However, Montreal played 71 games.  Buffalo and New Jersey played only 69 apiece.  Those two teams would have a legitimate beef that they would have had a chance to catch up to the Canadiens if they'd been allowed to play the same number of games.

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I guess the Sabres and Devils have quit screaming.  It appears that a format for the Stanley Cup playoffs has been determined.

Twelve teams from each conference make the playoffs.  The teams that finished fifth through twelfth in the regular-season standings will pair off in five-game series, with No. 5 playing No. 12, No. 6 playing No. 11, and so on for the right to advance to the next round. 

The teams that finished first through fourth will automatically advance to the next round, but will not automatically be seeded in  the order of the final regular-season standings.  While the fifth through twelfth teams are playing their five-game series, the first four teams will play a round-robin series against each other to determine who will be seeded first, second, third, and fourth for the second round.

It's not clear how the seeding would work if the round-robin series results in two teams with 2-1 records and two teams with 1-2, or three teams with 2-1 records and one with 0-3.

And they still haven't worked out the details of where and when the games can be played.

But at least they don't seem to be squabbling about money, as the baseball players are doing.

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