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NHL RETURN TO PLAY ADVANCES

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The NHL announced yesterday that they were advancing to Phase 2 of their return to play plan. Starting on Monday June 8 clubs will be able to open their training facilities in their home cities which will allow players to participate in individualized training both on and off ice.

While this is a promising step forward it doesn’t mean all teams involved in the return will be opening their facilities on Monday. This is simply a green light from the NHL to proceed if requirements and medical protocols as set out by the league are met. There are still quarantine rules in effect that come in to play and other considerations such as players not currently in their teams “home city”.

As it pertains to the Maple Leafs, they are expected to open facilities on Monday. There are a number of Leafs players in town and they have begun testing today.


Timeline for Return to Play Plan

Further details have been finalized for the Playoff format for the Return to Play Plan. The top 4 teams in each Conference will play a round-robin to determine seeding. The remaining 8 teams in each conference will play a best of 5 qualifying round to see who makes it into the playoffs. The NHL has decided on a seeding format over brackets. The highest seeded team will play the lowest seeded team and will be reseeded after each round has been completed. More details can be found on the NHL site Here.

Timeline

* Since the League’s pause on March 12, the League has been in Phase 1 with teams having been instructed to self-isolate as much as possible.

Phase 2 – Early June

* In early June, it is expected that teams will be permitted to return to home facilities for small group, voluntary, and on- and off-ice training.

Phase 3 – Not Earlier than First Half of July

* Not earlier than first half of July, formal training camps will begin after guidance from medical and civil authorities.

Phase 4 – Timing TBD

* 24 teams in 2 “hub” cities will compete in Seeding Round Robins, a Qualifying Round and Conference-based Stanley Cup Playoffs.

NHL.com https://media.nhl.com/public/news/13995

In other news Sportsnet made a massive hire bringing in Chris Cuthbert today. Details on broadcast teams and coverage is to be released next week but I’m sure most of you are hoping what I’m hoping. If anything at all good comes out of this stoppage it’s that Jim Hughson gets shipped back out West to cover the Canucks and that Cuthbert becomes the guy for the Leafs broadcasts. Now if they could do something about Millen……Trebuchets and the sun come to mind….