The NHL Is Definitely, Maybe Back
It on Tuesday. Nhl Commissioner Gary. Bettman made an announcement. I am delighted to be with you today. To announce the National Hockey League's plans are resumption of play. They have concluded the regular season but will hold the Stanley Cup. Playoff that playoff will consist of twenty four teams as proposed by the NHL. Although we are anxious to get back on the ice will not do anything until we are assured by medical professionals in the relevant government authorities that it is safe and prudent to do so so the bottom line is the NHL is back sorta today. We're joined by the athletics Craig Customs to discuss this new postseason format which teams could benefit. And why the level of play actually monkey higher than what we're used to normally when you get to the play offs it's a long grind of a regular season. Then each seven game series ends up. Just being this battle of attrition in this case these teams have had a chance to rest up. Guys that were hurt at the end of the regular season are now gonna be back on the ice in. Maybe it's just the optimism me but I think the on ice action could be as high as it's been from wondering and the athletic I'm under skelter and I'm beat the Davidson. It's Thursday may twenty eighth and this is the lead it felt like something great something of emotion and not from the past because ever seen. This isn't a story be the afternoon it stays with you. Did you know two out of three guys will experience? Some sort of male pattern baldness by the time they're thirty five the best way to prevent hair loss. Do something about it while he still have some hair left. You used to have to go to the doctor for a prescription but thanks to keeps you can get the office and go online to get hair loss. Medication delivered right to your home. Keeps makes it easy and delivered your medication every three months? So you can say goodbye to the pharmacy. Checkout lines and of course awkward doctors visits keeps can take four to six months or more to see results so that makes it even more important to act fast. The sooner you start using keeps the more hair. You'll save find out why keeps has more five-star reviews than any of its competitors and nearly one hundred thousand men trust keeps for the hair loss. Prevention Medication keeps treatments. Started just ten dollars a month. Plus for a limited time. You can get your first month free if you're ready to take action and prevent hair loss. Go TO KEEPS DOT com slash lead to receive your first treatment for free that's K. E. E. P. S. dot com slash lead every day on the lead we strive to bring you compelling sports stories from around the world and we couldn't make that happen without the amazing local and national reporters at the athletic here on the lead. We can only bring you one story a day but the athletic can keep you up to date on all the teams and leagues. You care about their no ads. Pop UPS OR CLICK BAIT. Just great sports writing that digs deep into the story behind the story. Right now we're offering listeners of the lead a ninety day free trial get exclusive player profiles deep dives on analytics team power rankings and fantasy sports insights from our team of more than four hundred writers. Each subscriber gets a personalized feed daily stories on your team's live. Qna's with your favorite writers original podcasts and more sign up to try the athletic free for ninety days go to the athletic dot com slash. The lead that's the athletic dot com slash. The lead to start your ninety day. Free trial today sue. Craig tell us about this announcement that commissioner Gary Bettman and the NHL made on Tuesday. Essentially first and foremost there are seven teams. Who Season is over? And the Gary Bettman closed the book on the NHL Regular Season for purposes of nomenclature recordkeeping in NHL Awards. Two Thousand Nineteen Twenty regular season has been deemed to be completed. So the you know the bottom. Seven teams point percentage. Wise are done and that means there are twenty four that are going to be part of this return to play scenario. There's GonNa be a play in series of games involving you know portion of those teams. And then you're also going to have a round robins for for some of the teams at the top of each conference. The top four teams in each conference were claim automatic berths in the first round of the playoffs. They will play interconference. Round robins each playing the other three teams to determine their respective seeds in the first round and on top of all of that. The the commissioner also announced the draft lottery for the teams. That didn't make the playoffs. And even that's convoluted. This is a bit complicated. As if what? I've already told you hasn't been and I apologize for that. Draft Lottery will determine which clubs make the first three selections in Twenty Twenty Nhl draft and it will be conducted in one or two phases. So Gary Bettman makes us announcement and then we were all just spending the next several hours trying to make sense of it and even now having a hard time explaining it going through it all. It's it's pretty crazy all right. So twenty four teams will have a chance to win the Stanley Cup. What is the rationale behind the twenty four team format to cut it down to sixteen teams? Which is the traditional. Nhl Playoff format because regular season hadn't ended rate so this now gives an opportunity to some of those teams that were separated by decimal points to continue playing. And also if we're just being very pragmatic about it by expanding out to twenty four teams your including teams the Montreal Canadians. The CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS THE NEW YORK Rangers. And the these are big market teams. That I'm sure the NHL in an effort to recoup some money here and by having those big market teams in your satisfying some TV demands. You'RE GONNA get more eyeballs on this tournament and then you know you're you're still able to have some form of the traditional sixteen team. Nhl Playoffs by having this qualifying round which essentially each conference is going to have four best of five series to get into that sixteen again. Already sounds complicated. When I say it out loud well and it was pretty clear from Bettman's announcement that this isn't something that's going to happen overnight and there are still significant health concerns. What hurdles are still left to clear before we actually see hockey again? This is important to distinguish could be because This was heralded as hockey is back in the. Nhl Has a plan to get it back on the ice. The let the record show in this Kobe crisis. It was the National Hockey League. That was the first pro sports organization in North America. To say we are coming back is there is a plan but this is more. Here's the plan. If we get back on the ice in Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly Were pretty careful not to put real distinct timelines because the schedule of our return to play will be determined both by developing circumstances and the needs of our players. You know this is a multi-phase effort to get back onto the ice in team still aren't even at phase. Two in phase two is small workouts in in the home cities. They're hopeful that can begin in early June and then it would go on to phase three. Which would be training camps for these twenty four teams in the NHL PA in the NHL? Still haven't really agreed to what face three looks like. And that's even before we get to phase four. Which is the hub cities where these games are going to be played so there is still a lot of hurdles to cross here for the NHL to get back on. The ice in a Batman was hesitant to talk about dates but he did say that a late July or early August start was possible. Do you think that's realistic? Here's here's what I'll say about dates attaching Gary. Bettman said this. When he was talking to the media any time we tried to attach from day to something at this point. We're just guessing what if we have cases in players test positive. I know they said okay. If we have one or two cases we're just going to isolate that player in in move forward but if it's more than that they're going to have to hit pause on this thing so as it stands right now knowing what we know you can see a scenario where they are playing in late July but whether or not it's actually going to happen. I agree with Gary Bettman. You're you're just guessing you know we've seen in major league baseball for example that the players and the owners had a lot of trouble coming to an agreement on restarting the season. What have the dynamics been like between the players and the owners in the NHL? Yeah I will give the NHL NHL PA a lot of credit here because he's two sides that haven't always gotten along particularly well and return to play committee which is the NHL NHL. Pa are both represented on that you have prominent players including Toronto. Maple leafs Senator John. Taveras Connor mcdavid so the players definitely had a voice so this has been pretty lockstep between the PA in the NHL to get this done. And and I think that's a big reason. Why there they were able to make. This announcement is both sides. Seem to be pretty motivated to get games in to conclude the season and I give them credit. We'll so craig after all of this time off. What quality of hockey can we actually expect to see? When the playoffs eventually do begin. I mean I know there's been a long lay-off but I'm cautiously optimistic. That the actual hockey being played if they get back on the ice. I think it could be really really high quality hockey for this reason. Normally when you get to the play offs. It's a long grind of a regular season. Then each seven game series ends up. Just being this battle of attrition like the Rules Change You can hold. You can be playoff. Hockey is completely different. So that by the time these teams get to the Stanley Cup final. They're basically limping in in. Its whatever team is healthiest tends to do well? In this case now these teams have had a chance to rest up. Guys that were hurt at the end of the regular season are now going to be back on the ice. They're going to be fresh so I think it maybe just the optus me but I think the on ice action. If they do play. These games could be as high as been in years in the playoffs because he's player's GonNa be well rested ready to go and in your opinion which teams benefit the most from the expanded twenty fourteen field. Who Do you think got lucky here? You have these teams that were on the bubble that still are going to be part of the draft lottery but could win their laying round and I think those those are the benefactors right so you have a team like the New York Rangers. The Chicago Blackhawks. That you don't know if they were GonNa make the playoffs and now they've been given this opportunity without potentially losing a chance of the draft lottery. So I I look at those teams as real winners in this scenario. Because they're they're almost getting the best of both worlds and and you sit there and you look at Iran one matchup and the oilers are fleeing Chicago Blackhawks in in the blackhawks. Who knows if they're going to make the playoffs? But they still have this veteran team with Jonathan Taste and Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith. And they know how to navigate a playoff game in so they're playing this really young Edmonton oilers team with Connor mcdavid. So they may have been gifted an opportunity to go on the surprise run and and maybe rekindle some some championship. Glory from years past may have existed. If all of this had happened while on the other hand there are playoff teams. Here that you would look at and say they're they're probably not too thrilled about this format. I look at the Tampa Bay lightning. I know they were one of two teams including Carolina Hurricanes that voted this format down. I think the Tampa Bay lightning were just. They were concerned about this format and what it meant for them. And I think it's doubly important because you look at the lightning and they were the team last year. That had this great regular season and were eliminated in the first round by the blue jackets. One of the biggest upsets ever history standing four did switch by the Columbus Blue Jackets against a team that has all kinds of records in now. The comeback they were starting to play great hockey and you know covert hits and then they have this format. That isn't great for them. If you're talking about winners and losers those bubble teams it's good for them Teams at the top. You know a team like the Tampa Bay. Lightning probably don't love this one. What concerns have you heard from? Nhl Players about this proposal are any of them worried for example that this won't be seen as a real postseason because the format is so different. The bigger concerns that you're getting from players is the debate is going to be. What does this bubble of life gonNA look like for them? Let's use Vegas as the example. We'RE GONNA end up playing the end of the playoffs in Vegas is one of the hub cities and you put all these players into their and the they're away from their families. And how long does that last you end up going to game seven Stanley Cup finals? I think that that is a bigger concern for the players. Right now is what is that. GonNa look like. How isolated are they going to be from families? You know there's players that are expecting to have a baby in July. Let's say something very personal something that you never have thought about an hour. They allowed out into Vista Corn Team for two weeks back in. And how does that impact their personal life? How does it impact thirteen? I mean all of those things. I think that kind of that personal side is worthy. Players minds are at right now in terms of. Is there going to be an asterisk next to the Stanley Cup winner? I don't see that being the case and I look as recently as the last lockout where the season was short and health takeout. There's no asterix air. It was shortened season. The Stanley Cup playoffs were great. Actually the shortened season because condense things in the hockey was fantastic. So you're going to hear some griping from players outside most notably drew doughty of the La Kings recently said. Yeah whoever wins this year? It's it's not gonNA count the same but I think that was just drew doughty being judy. And and you know he's won a couple of cups with the Kings in one of those to be a little bit higher than the ones now but when you talk the players if they raise us down the cup they'll feel great about it and it's going to no differently than any other year well and finally crag if he were a betting man. Vegas has the Bruins the lightning and their own Golden Knights currently as co favorites to win the Stanley Cup. Who Do you like to win it? All if we do get hockey back and also has it been months since you've been asked in actual hockey question i. It's funny because I got to say it's great even just think about this rate like. Hey let's put all this testing side in in restrictions aside and say who's going to win the Stanley Cup. It's A. It's a quaint thought. Almost but now it's like we don't even know what to base it on because you can sit there and go before all this happened. I looked at team like Vegas. I loved that team and if I had to pick a team that was playing. Probably the best going in all of this. It was Vegas and they made a coaching change in Pibor and it was really clicking back as the golden tither team record. Were there and home winner. The added another goalie at the trade deadline in Robin Leonard. So that was my team probably team. I was going to pick at least to come out of the West and in the east I like the Tampa Bay lightning as much as this format may not resonate with them. I still think this is a group. That's going to be motivated. By last year's they really turned the corner this year. There seemed to be a focus there and I really like the Tampa Bay lightning this year as I did last year too. And if you're forcing me to pick one which I think was the question I would probably say it's their time. They've been through the wars. I think they're going to be focused after last year's first-round upset at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets. That's a team that I would expect is going to be locked in and but who knows. I haven't seen these teams in months. Well Craig thank you so much for joining us. Thanks could be you can follow Craig customers coverage of the NHL at the athletic dot com from wondering and the athletic. I'm giving Davidson Steve Tomorrow.