Pittsburgh Penguins: They’re bringing hockey back, yeah

Pittsburgh Penguins stand for the National Anthem. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
Pittsburgh Penguins stand for the National Anthem. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

The NHLPA’s executive board approved a 24-team playoff format for a potential restart. In short, the Pittsburgh Penguins will be facing some familiar foes.

For starters, the format that was approved is a conference-based playoff format. Simply meaning that the top seeds from the East play the East; you get the picture. It’s still undetermined as to when the Pittsburgh Penguins will return, but we harness our inner JT, they’re bringing hockey back, YEAH!

Moving on, I’d like to apologize for that reference, but seriously, hockey is coming back! A few details remain to be voted on, according to the union, but for the moment, the NHLPA and us, the fans, wait for the NHL to approve this scenario. Let’s dig into what it implies and find out more specifically what it means for the Pittsburgh Penguins going forward.

If you remember, we talked last week about a few formats and how they could both impact the Penguins postseason. It seems that we won’t have to see the Pens play every divisional foe, but they will be keeping it close to home. The 5th seeded Pens will face the 12th placed Canadiens if everything stands.

Pittsburgh Penguins: They’re bringing hockey back, yeah

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The Penguins unluckily get the top seeding of the best of 5 series matchups as they will play for a spot in the final 16. As of know, the NHL wants this to look like a bracket with the winners moving on to face, the winners. The NHLPA wants reseeding to happen after every match pitting the top seeds with the bottom seeds and so on.

With the reseeding, the top 4 teams in each division would play each other in some kind of round-robin format to decide how they get seeded. Meaning they don’t just idly sit by drinking on the beach. We know the plan for now, so where do the Pens end up, assuming the make it past the Canadiens in the first round?

The Pens took 2 out of 3 against their foes from the north this season and should easily make it onto the next round. The other seeds look to be pretty top-heavy with maybe only the 8 seed of Toronto may be losing to the 9 seed of Columbus. If that all happens, then the seeds look like this.

Boston (1), Tampa Bay (2), Washington (3), Philadelphia (4), Pittsburgh (5), Carolina (6), Islanders (7), and Columbus (9). That would mean we would get a coveted Pennsylvania matchup in the second round of the playoffs.

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Anything can happen in the playoffs; we know that. But if the Pens can get rolling like they were right before the season pause, they could make a serious push. The path won’t be easy, and right now, it’s still unclear, but things are heating up. The NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman, wants hockey back, and this is the next step to get the NHL and Penguins season rolling again.