From NHL press release tonight: "Teams participating in a best-of-five series during the Stanley Cup Qualifiers are considered to have made the postseason and participated in a postseason series."— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) July 11, 2020
It took a global pandemic and a complete reworking of the playoff system, but the Canucks playoff drought is over! Are you ready for up to 15 hours of hockey a day? August 1st is the target, as the play-in round games will get underway in Edmonton and Toronto for the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. It took a lot of negotiation, but both sides appear to be happy with what they’ve put together, the protocols are in place, and players are returning to their teams to begin training camp soon. Here’s where the real test of whether or not this is going to work happens. Players are being brought into their first bubble to start getting back into game shape. How many will bring the virus with them? How many will step outside the bubble? We want to assume that they can all just do what they’re told, but human beings being what they are, and wealthy young humans even more so, this is far from a foregone conclusion.
We’re starting to see the first in what I am sure will be numerous opt-outs. Sven Baertschi has informed the Canucks he is not reporting, and they’ve called up Kole Lind to take his place with the Black Aces for the Canucks.
Been told #Canucks forward Sven Beartschi has has opted out of the NHL's Return to Play— Rick Dhaliwal (@DhaliwalSports) July 11, 2020
Sources say the Canucks have called up forward Kole Lind.
The biggest one so far is Travis Hamonic for the Calgary Flames:
That’s a big loss for the Flames’ D, but I think one thing really needs to be emphasized here: I have zero issues with any player opting out. None. I don’t want to hear anything about Hamonic or Baertschi’s heart or whatever. This virus could be a career ender, as well as the implications of the disease spreading to the players families. No one should be objecting to any player that decides the risk factor is too high for their personal situation.
The scheduling is in place, and here’s how things will go:
#NHL tentative RTP schedule:— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) July 8, 2020
July 24: Travel to hubs
July 25: Exhibition games
July 30: Qualif. round begins
Aug. 9: First round of playoffs begins
Aug. 23: Second round begins
Sept. 6: Conf Finals begin
Sept. 20: SCF begins
Oct. 2: Last poss. game of SCF
The Canucks/Wild series looks like this:
Meanwhile, it wouldn’t be Canucks hockey without a sizable distraction heading into the games returning:
Matt Sekeres: I'm told the Canucks are exploring the possibility of trading Brock Boeser.#TSN1040— Rick Dhaliwal (@DhaliwalSports) July 10, 2020
While I still question whether the depth this team has makes a guy like Brock Boeser an expendable piece, their cap situation is likely going to force their hand. Now, if they can get a top pairing Dman back, I think that could make the loss of a guy like Boeser palatable. Jim Benning will have to pull off a minor miracle trade-wise to make that happen, though.
Thomas Drance explores the Canucks cap situation, and this may come as a shock to you, but it’s looking a bit on the grim side... While there’s some guys who have experience and even rings, the core of this team are making their first playoff appearances...
AROUND THE NHL:
One other good thing about the new CBA? It means we’ll see NHL’ers in the next two Winter Olympics and that’s freakin’ awesome... And while this is a whole new playoff world, it’s nice to see that some long standing traditions are still with us, like the annual Steven Stamkos playoff injury... Moneypuck dot com has their playoff odds out, and they’re really going all in on the Canucks being the massive underdog in this series against Minnesota, eh?