The Top 4 teams from each division will make the playoffs.
Divisions will be realigned because of the Canadian “quarantine protocols”.. all of the Canadian teams will play each other in their “own division”.
Canada will have a representative in the final four for the first time since 2018 (Winnipeg). No guarantee, of course, of the first Canadian Cup winner since ’93 (Montreal), or the first Leafs title since ’67.
Seems like a sure bet this 56-game sprint to the postseason will be rife with regional hatred and familiarity-bred contempt, both factors freely enjoyed around these parts. In the Canadian sector, the Battle of Alberta could happen up to 17 times: nine or 10 tilts during the year, and in a playoff series, as many as seven games. Let’s hope it’s safe to have fans in attendance for at least a couple of them.
In the coming days, the NHL and NHLPA will release game schedules, with teams playing at home rinks as Covid-19 conditions allow. At least two teams, Dallas and Florida, are expected to welcome a small number of fans to their home openers. TD Garden is still off-limits to the general public. Meanwhile, San Jose will hold camp in Scottsdale, Ariz., because of the coronavirus situation in Northern California.