The Sportsnet crew reiterated that the NHL’s phase three (mini-training camps) will not start before July 10 and that phase two (small group skates and workouts), which teams are preparing to begin late next week, will not be mandatory.
The first two weeks of training camp for each team will take place in the clubs’ playing city and the last week in their hub city, according to Chris Johnston. Phase four, the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, could occur in early August, he continued.
Johnston also said that players are still deciding whether the first two real rounds will be best-of-five or -seven and that Stanley Cup will not be handed out in October in the case of the latter happening.
Elliotte Freidman said that hub cities are still three-to-four weeks from being determined and that the United States-Canada border closure could play a role in those decisions. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly would like games in Canada but the NHL will likely wait until the next border decision, which occurs on June 21.
Johnston said that the league has a good idea of where COVID-19 testing will come from but there is still more to work through. Friedman estimated that each test would cost between $120-130, which would accumulate to a total of $3 million spent on testing.
Freidman said that everyone is wondering what Las Vegas, one of the major candidates to host the Stanley Cup Playoffs, is going do to accommodate NHL. Some hotels and casinos are slated to reopen Wednesday.
Johnston confirmed that the Boston Bruins could slide to No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference during the round-robin tournament if they lose all three games despite leading conference by eight points and winning the Presidents’ Trophy. However, he acknowledged that seeding will not matter much if the tournament format is bracketed but will if the teams are reseeded following each round.
Players want the teams to reseeded every round while NHL wants the tournament to be bracketed. Johnston thinks the players will win.
Freidman said that NHL is still discussing fan experience during the tournament. They could experiment with different things like playing music during game action, placing cameras in different spots, and implementing microphones in areas where they have not been before, which could allow for better audio and camera positioning.
By Harrison Brown