24 Team Playoff You Say? The NHL Jumps In!
With sports seasons on the brink and looking for ways to continue their interrupted seasons, the NHL this week floated a wild idea to its players; a 24 team playoff featuring the top 12 teams in each conference in which teams would compete in divisional round-robin tournaments before heading to the postseason.
So how would we know which teams would return? The proposal currently calls for the league to determine this by using win percentage, since many of the leagues teams have played a different number of games to this point. Each division would have six returning teams and the 24 teams who returned would play in a 5 game, 9 day divisional round-robin where each team would play each other once. At the conclusion of this round, the top two teams in each division would get a bye, the four other teams would then play in a three game series to determine who moves on, after this round they would switch to a traditional best of seven game format. After the playoffs was whittled down to four teams, the Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Finals would be hosted in a single host city.
But where would the games take place? TVA Sports reports that the NHL would chose four cities to host each divisions games, and that no team would be forced to play in a host city from its own division. This would all take place after a three week training camp in the teams home cities, if a team is not yet approved to play in their city, they would have training camp in an approved city, luckily at this point it seems like all teams will have access to their facilities as today, even the state of California granted pro sports a restart date.
With all the recent optimism towards a return of sports it is hard to NOT get excited about these prospects. A 24 team NHL playoff would be an amazing event and with the lack of other live sports it could attract a new fan base to a league which has been lagging behind the "mainstream" sports like the NBA, NFL and MLB. For the NHL its a win/win scenario and though fans would not be attending, their TV ratings would go through the roof and also give the fan bases of 24 teams hope of bringing home a Stanley Cup, because if there's anything the NHL has proven to us, its that an eight seed can take home the hardware.