The NHL season is coming to a close, which means the playoffs will be in full swing soon. However, there could be some adjustments made this year.
Contingency Plans are Being Prepared by the NHL
The NHL is preparing for contingency plans just in case travel restrictions due to COVID-19 prevent any teams from travelling in between Canada and the United States throughout the playoffs.
Nothing has been confirmed yet, but this is a unique situation the NHL will be encountering. The specific location of where any playoff games could be hosted is still up for question right now. Everything is based on COVID and keeping the safety of all players, coaches and other members of the NHL safe and healthy.
One solution the NHL has come up with to combat any travel restrictions is that all seven Canadian teams have to play in the same division for the entire season and for the first two rounds of the playoffs.
This is certainly an ideal decision made by the hockey organization. It has taken care of the entire NHL season thus far and will take care of two rounds of the playoffs.
The only time a Canadian team would be eligible to play against a team in the U.S. is sometime in June. While there is not a lot of information to go by, there is some rumors that the first two rounds could be played inside of a quarantined bubble.
Possible Option for a Successful NHL Playoff and Stanley Cup Final Series
There is possible solution that could work for the playoffs in these special circumstances. The NHL could potentially bring the North Division winner to a hub city in the U.S., which is where they will play all home games.
This will be given to a Canada team during the semi-finals part of the playoffs. At that point, there will be three American teams and one from Canada. If the NHL decides to do something like this, that hub city would also be where the home arena for a Canadian team if they qualify for the Stanley Cup Finals.
Why the NHL is not Doing what the NBA or MLB is Doing
The NBA and MLB both have teams fro Canada playing in the U.S. So, many hockey fans are proably wondering how come the NHL is handling the matter so differently.
For starters, Canada has not been up to par when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine lately. Canada has only vaccinated 2.71% of their people. In contrast, the U.S. has about 29% of the population vaccinated. There is obviously a major difference, here.
This problem, consequently, has forced the NHL to maintain strict guidelines and keep restrictions enforced throughout both the season and playoffs thanks to the lack of vaccinated people in Canada.
More information will be provided regarding the 2021 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs once it arrives. Stay tuned for more.