Early this week, excitement set in. Well, as of about an hour ago, the NHL officially approved a return-to-play plan. So Pittsburgh Penguins fans, get excited because it’s real!
The NHLPA approved a 24-team playoff model late last week as everyone around the Pittsburgh Penguins waited patiently for more news to follow. Well, this afternoon, that news was delivered as the National Hockey League officially approved that plan. Finally, we can get some hockey back and see if the Penguins can raise Lord Stanley again. But what does it all mean going forward?
NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman, approved a plan with significant implications and will probably need to be read more than once. The idea talks about the way forward for training, including camps, as well as the all-important questions regarding the NHL Entry Draft. So, this is what we know so far.
The NHL regular season is officially declared finish. That, as well as the NHLPA and NHL approving this playoff format, is Phase 1. Phase 2 focuses on light training as well as small/voluntary on and off ice sessions. That timeline, for now, in early June. Phase 3 will be full-on team training camps and is not expected until after the 1st of July.
Pittsburgh Penguins: A return-to-play plan is approved by the NHL
That brings us to Phase 4, game time! The 24 teams will compete in 2 hub cities. The competitions for the playoff format include the seeding round robins, the initial qualifying rounds, and then the conference based format for the remainder of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Just in case you’re curious, Pittsburgh is one of those potential hub cities.
The NHL plans to split the two cities by conference. They will be limited to just 50 team personnel in those cities for now as the league and the world wait for more info on the decline or regulations on the COVID-19 issue. The previously posted article already talked about the explanation of the rounds and what they will entail, but it will be fast-paced and aggressive.
As far as the draft goes, there is a lot to break down, but the short and skinny is this:
- The draft lottery will be done before the qualifying round.
- It will be split up into three different draws.
- The first draw will be the teams not in the playoffs and the organizations that didn’t advance.
- After that, good luck and get ready for the chaos.
Yes, everything is still up in the air, but baring something horrific happening, hockey is now officially back. The kinks need to be worked on, and the future still has a lot of question marks, but Penguins hockey shall return before the summer’s end.