A couple a weeks ago, it was announced that if the NHL season were to come back, it would forgo the remainder of its regular season and go straight to a 24-team playoffs. On Thursday, uSports gave our predictions for the league’s playoff format. Also on Thursday, the NHL finalized its playoff format for the 2020 season, agreeing on it with the NHL Players Association.

What the format will consist of is that there will be a best-of-five qualifying round to get down from 24 teams to the typical 16 teams. The top four teams in each conference prior to the season being shut down will compete in a separate round-robin tournament to determine seeding, while the remaining eight teams in both conferences will play for the final four spots in each conference.

Once all the playoff teams are determined, teams will play in a series of best-of-seven game series until a champion is crowned. After each round, the teams will then be re-seeded, instead of the typical bracket format. 

In all sports, not just in hockey, many critics have asked whether or not there will be an asterisk next to the names of the champions of leagues this year, given the craziness of this season. Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares doesn’t think that is the case. “Any team that is going to win five rounds, four rounds of best of seven,” he said. “I think it will be a very worthy Stanley Cup champion and they’ll be as worthy as any team or players that won it before them.”

The NHL and the NHLPA will now have to determine and agree upon various health and safety protocols prior to resuming its season.

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