NHL, NBA, MLS release plans, schedules for return
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NHL, NBA, MLS release plans, schedules for return

Edmonton and Toronto are the likeliest candidates to be NHL's two hub cities when the pucks drop in August.

NHL: Edmonton, Toronto likely hub cities

Update: July 6, 2020

The NHL and the NHLPA have managed to agree on some details for the return of hockey, planned to happen in early August. Among the most interesting facts for Canadiens are the hub cities: it seems that Canada will host all remaining games of the 2020 season. More about the Edmonton-Toronto plan here.

There's not much meat on the bones yet, but the plan seems to be excluding the return of play on the American soil. Details will probably change many times before the puck drops, so let's just be happy for Edmonton and Toronto for a little while now. The idea of The Maple Leafs hoisting the cup in Toronto after an all-Canadian-ice-hockey-summer sounds pretty good though...

NHL: Canadian Hub cities considered again

Update: June 19, 2020

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau indicated on Tuesday that the government would be comfortable with making either Edmonton, Toronto or Vancouver one of the NHL Hub Cities. He said: "Canada is open to it as long as it is OK by the local health authorities." 

Canadian cities were initially ruled out as Hub Cities because Canada imposes strict quarantine rules on anybody who crosses the border from the US. Under the new policy, NHL players would be exempt from this rule.

The training camps are scheduled to start on July 10th.

WNBA has also released plans

WNBA announced on Monday that it plans to start a 22-game regular season in July, followed by the traditional playoffs format, which means that the 2019-2020 WNBA season will end sometime in October. All games will be played in Florida

MLS is Back-tournament starts July 8th

Update: June 11, 2020

Major League soccer released their return plans and schedule on June 10th. All 26 teams will take part in a tournament starting on July 8th in the Wide World Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida.

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  • NBA will return July 31st

    Update: June 5, 2020

    The NBA Board of Governors accepted a plan to restart the season on July 31st with 22 teams. 

    • Each team will play 8 regular-season games
    • A play-in tournament for the final playoff seed in each conference between the eight-seed and nine-seed, but only if the nine-seed is within 4 games from the eight-seed. The lower-ranked team would need to win both games while the higher-ranked team would qualify for the playoffs by winning one game
    • Standard playoff format for both conferences

    Returning teams - Eastern Conference (9)

    • Milwaukee Bucks (53-12)
    • Totonto Raptors (46-18)
    • Boston Celtics (43-21)
    • Miami Heat (41-24)
    • Indiana Pacers (39-26)
    • Philadelphia 79ers (39-26)
    • Brooklyn Nets (30-34)
    • Orlando Magic (30-35)
    • Washington Wizards (24-40)

    Returning teams - Western Conference (13)

    • Los Angeles Lakers (49-14)
    • Los Angeles Clippers (44-20)
    • Denver Nuggets (43-22)
    • Utah Jazz (41-23)
    • Oklahoma City Thunder (40-24)
    • Houston Rockets (40-24)
    • Dallas Mavericks (40-27)
    • Memphis Grizzlies (32-33)
    • Portland Trail Blazers (29-37)
    • New Orleans Pelicans (28-36)
    • Sacramento Kings (28-36)
    • San Antonio Spurs (27-36)
    • Phoenix Suns (26-39)

    The season could continue in Disney World 

    The NBA will try to restart the season in late July, and the location will be the Wide World of Sports complex in the Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. The Wide World of Sports Complex will be the venue for all matches including the playoffs and the NBA Finals, practices and housing for the rest of the season.

    NBA 2020-2021 season could start December 1st

    NBA has also proposed a starting date for the next season - and that's December 1st, 2020.  Training camp would start on November 10th, so the teams would have around three weeks to get their ducks in order.


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  • NHL - Plans for the return are ready

    Update: June 12, 2020

    NHL training camp starts July 10th and season will restart in two to three weeks after that.

    The NHL became the first major North American sports league to release its plans for the rest of the 2019-20 season, suspended in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

    The NHL playoffs will be played with 24 teams, so the season will end for seven teams if this plan holds - Ottawa is the only Canadian team to be left out from the playoffs.

    These 7 teams who won’t go to the playoffs will go into the draft lottery:

    • Buffalo Sabres
    • New Jersey Devils
    • Anaheim Ducks
    • Los Angeles Kings
    • San Jose Sharks
    • Ottawa Senators
    • Detroit Red Wings

    2020 NHL Playoffs format with 24 teams

    The format for the 2020 NHL playoffs will be considerably different from the normal. Twelve teams from both Conferences will qualify for the playoffs. Eight teams from each conference will take part in a Qualifying Round while the top four seeds of each conference get a buy week and will face each other in a Seeding Round Robin to determine the order of the top four seeds for the first round proper of the 2020 playoffs.

    Eastern Conference Qualifying Round (Best of 5 with 8 teams)

    Two Canadian teams will play in the Eastern Conference Qualifying Round: the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens.

    • Pittsburgh Penguins vs Montreal Canadiens
    • Carolina Hurricanes vs New York Rangers
    • New York Islanders vs Florida Panthers
    • Toronto Maple Leafs vs Columbus Blue Jackets

    Eastern Conference Seeding Round Robin (four teams)

    • Boston Bruins
    • Tampa Bay Lightning
    • Philadelphia Flyers
    • Washington Capitals

    Western Conference Qualifying Round (Best of 5 with 8 teams)

    In the West, four Canadian teams will have a chance to proceed to the first proper round of the 2020 playoffs: the Edmonton Oilers, the Vancouver Canucks, the Calgary Flames and the Winnipeg Jets. Calgary will meet Winnipeg in the Qualifying Round, so at least one Canadian team will make it to the real playoffs this year. It won’t be easy for any of the Canadian teams to win the cup though; the Seeding Round Robin teams are all really strong in the West.

    Edmonton Oilers vs Chicago Blackhawks Nashville Predators vs Arizona Coyotes Vancouver Canucks vs Minnesota Wild Calgary Flames vs Winnipeg Jets

    Western Conference Seeding Round Robin (four teams)

    • St Louis Blues
    • Colorado Avalanche
    • Vegas Golden Knights
    • Dallas Stars

    Rules for the 2019-20 NHL Playoffs

    The 2019-20 format can be a bit challenging because the rules for matches in different rounds change.

    Qualifying Rounds

    Games in the Qualifying Round will be played with playoff overtime rules. The series will be played in the best out of five format, so to proceed to the next round, a team needs to win three matches.

    Seeding Round Robin

    The Round-Robin games will be played with regular-season overtime and shootout rules with ties in the standings broken by regular-season points percentage. Teams from the Seeding Round-Robin will face the winners of the pairs from the Qualifying Round.

    After the Qualifying Round and Seeding Round Robin, we will have our 16 teams for the 2019-2020 Playoffs proper.

    Format for Playoffs Proper

    The NHL has not decided on the format for the first two rounds of the Playoffs proper. The Conference Finals and the Stanley Cup Finals will be played in best of 7 series.

    Three Canadian cities among hub city candidates

    So, 24 teams will continue the season, but where? The NHL has identified 12 hub city candidates (3 in Canada) which include:

    • Chicago
    • Columbus
    • Dallas
    • Edmonton (Can)
    • Las Vegas
    • Los Angeles
    • Minneapolis/St. Paul
    • Pittsburgh
    • Toronto (Can)
    • Vancouver (Can)

    The Canadian locations are unlikely to be selected due to the two week-quarantine that would be imposed on players and staff upon crossing the border.

    Each Conference would play in their hub city; the plans for the finals have yet to be finalized. Most likely, all of the playoffs games will be played in the hub cities without crowds.

    The NHL has not yet set dates for the return.

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