National Hockey League Set to Return August 1

The National Hockey League is set to resume play on Saturday with an expanded 24-team playoff. This will be the league’s first competitive play since it suspended activities on March 12 due to the spread of COVID-19.

The NHL will pick up with an expanded 24-team playoff. In the past, the playoffs have featured 16 teams, playing in a best-of-seven series. This year will look a little different. The top four teams when the league was suspended will play a Round-Robin format to determine first-round seeding. The next eight teams in each conference will be seeded by points and will play a best-of-five qualifying series. The winners will advance to the next round, which will resemble the traditional playoff bracket format. The next two rounds will be best-of-five games with the Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Final returning to a best-of-seven series.

The entire tournament will take place in only two cities. The Eastern Conference will play its games in Toronto at Scotiabank Arena, home of the Maple Leafs. The Western Conference will compete in Edmonton at the Oilers’ home arena, Rogers Place. The Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Final will also take place in Edmonton and will conclude no later than early-October.