If anything is certain, it’s that nothing is concrete in the NHL’s discussions about what a restart of the 2019-20 season would look like.
The campaign currently is paused amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and for a while now it has sounded like the league is open to a variety of different ways to conclude the season if allowed by medical officials.
One idea that reportedly has been kicked around is a 24-team playoff.
On Saturday morning, The Athletic’s Scott Burnside reported what that might look like, indicating that the top 12 teams from each conference based on winning percentage at the time of the pause would get into the postseason. And because the Metropolitan Division would have seven of those 12 teams, the No. 12 team, the New York Rangers, would go over to the Atlantic Division to even things out.
That means the Boston Bruins’ division would consist of, in addition to themselves, the Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens and Rangers.
Burnside notes what’s being considered is a round-robin tournament in each division to finish the regular season, then the teams would be seeded based on the points percentage from the regular seasons plus the five-game tournament. The top two teams then would get a bye, with the bottom four embarking on a best-of-three series. That would knock the league-wide field down to the traditional 16 teams.
The Bruins this season have fared well against the above group of teams, posting a record of 11-3-3 against the five — including a perfect 3-0-0 against New York.