Sports NHL evaluating alternate plans for North Division's playoff setup

05:10  23 april  2021
05:10  23 april  2021 Source:   prohockeyrumors.com

COVID protocol-related absences: 04/25

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The NHL also pledges to remain "flexible and adaptable" and could even pivot to hub cities at some point if things go awry. "Depending on prevailing conditions both in local markets and across North America, the League will be prepared to play games in one or more 'neutral site' venues per division should it become necessary," the NHL said in a statement Sunday. The regular season will wrap up on May 8 and then the league will return to a 16-team, best-of-seven, four-round playoff format.

Meanwhile, the NHL is still evaluating options with patience and an openness to all possible scenarios. And while that was a sound approach to the successful summer restart, it’ s not necessarily tremendous news for hockey fans eager to see the sport return as soon as possible. However, it seems like merely a step in the right direction, not a solution for the complications at the border. That means the NHL will have to bring total realignment to their four divisions , and fervent Canadian hockey fans will receive at least one unintended benefit amid this pandemic.

As the Stanley Cup Playoffs creep closer and closer and there has been no change at the Canadian border, it is seeming more and more likely that there will be some form of relocation in the postseason. TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that the NHL is not rushing to any conclusions, waiting to see if border policies are relaxed, but have to evaluate alternative plans for the North Division winner to be able to compete in the semifinals and Cup Final this season.

a large stadium © Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Dreger notes that there is still hope that playoff games will take place in Canada this season, but it is not guaranteed at this point. Of the three possibilities that the league is considering, obviously the ideal result would be that border policies will be changed or at least NHL teams will be made a special exception, allowing the final two playoff rounds to take place in the North Division winner’s home city as usual.

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Doan discusses Coyotes playoff hopes on ' NHL @TheRink' podcast. Former Arizona captain excited to see how players handle stretch drive, talks skating with Matthews, McDavid. NHL .com will be running weekly installments of the Trophy Tracker series this season, looking at leaders for the Hart (MVP), Norris (top defenseman), Vezina (top goalie) and Calder (top rookie) trophies. Though there can be only one winner for each award at the end of the season, five NHL .com writers per division will be ranking their top three for each award.

Honda west division . The Colorado Avalanche will clinch a playoff berth if they win in regulation at the St. Louis Blues (8 p.m. ET; BSMW, ALT, NHL .TV). NHL .com will be running weekly installments of the Trophy Tracker series this season, looking at leaders for the Hart (MVP), Norris (top defenseman), Vezina (top goalie) and Calder (top rookie) trophies. Though there can be only one winner for each award at the end of the season, five NHL .com writers per division will be ranking their top three for each award.

The next-best scenario is likely that the North Division playoffs will take place in home cities and only once a winner is decided will they move to an American city in order to continue on in the postseason. However, Dreger notes that the third option could see all four North Division playoff teams adopt the same U.S. home for their own divisional series, more similar to the bubble format seen last season.

For the Canadian teams and their fans, this is probably their least-favorite outcome, but if the status quo remains at the border and provincial policies remain tight as well, it may be the only way for those clubs to make a league-wide postseason work.

  • For the second season in a row, the Calder Cup will not be awarded. TSN’s Frank Seravalli reports that the AHL has abandoned hope of a league-wide postseason this season. The league is still evaluating the logistics of divisional playoffs, but with multiple divisions all of different sizes, a blanket format would be difficult to implement. Seravalli adds that without a championship to pursue and no financial incentive for players and many teams to play beyond the regular season, the AHL’s divisional playoffs may also be on an opt-in basis for both clubs and individuals. It would not be a surprise to see the minor league simply come to an end after their regular season schedule ends, allowing those players to join the parent club for their postseason run.
  • While the cancelation of the Women’s World Championship in Halifax, Nova Scotia has been a major story this week, Dreger reports that the odds are slim that the event will not happen at all. Instead, he notes that a number of locales have reached out about hosting the tournament. They include a number of fellow Canadian locations, such as Edmonton, Ottawa, and Price Edward Island, as well as Dallas, Texas and even a bid from Finland. By the time the IIHF is able to choose a new host and then re-plan the tournament, the Women’s Worlds are not expected to occur until late August or September. However, anything is better than the tournament being outright canceled altogether.

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Push for the Playoffs will run every morning through the end of the 2020-21 NHL season. We’ll highlight the current playoff picture in both conferences, take a look at what the first-round matchups might look like, see who’ s leading the race for the best odds in the draft lottery and more. The spectacular collapse of the proposed European Super League may feel like a victory for supporters who protested against the plans across the continent and outside English Premier League grounds but the top clubs are already plotting their next move.

The Penguins are third in the eight-team MassMutual East Division , one point behind the Washington Capitals and New York Islanders. The top four teams will qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs . Forward Brandon Tanev , who is week to week with an upper-body injury sustained against the Boston Bruins Welcome to the Stanley Cup Playoffs Buzz, a daily look at the races for the 2021 NHL postseason. There are 27 days left in the regular season and the races in each of the four divisions -- the seven-team Scotia North and eight-team MassMutual East, Discover Central and Honda West -- are tight.

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Mullins hits 2 HRs, leading Harvey, Orioles over Yankees 4-2 .
BALTIMORE — Cedric Mullins hit two home runs and a double, Matt Harvey pitched six impressive innings and the Baltimore Orioles beat the New York Yankees 4-2 Monday night. Baltimore moved one game ahead of the last-place Yankees in the AL East. “I've had some early success,” said Mullins, who is batting .365 this season. “It's just a matter of continuing to put the work in that I've been putting in. Again, I'm putting my best swing out on the field. It's just a matter of staying consistent.” Harvey (2-1) won consecutive starts for the first time since winning four in a row with Cincinnati from June 21-July 13, 2018.

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