COVID-19 permitting, hockey is right around the corner. The NHL and NHLPA have both voted to officially ratify the league’s return-to-play protocol and four-year CBA extension. Be sure to check out Brian’s story from yesterday to see all the key details from the new agreement.
The league confirmed the widely-assumed reports that Toronto and Edmonton will serve as the locations for the two “secure zones”, with the 12 Eastern Conference teams playing in Toronto and the 12 Western Conference teams in Edmonton. The conference finals and Stanley Cup Final will be played in Edmonton. Each club can bring 52 personnel, including a maximum of 31 players.
Training camp, or Phase 3, begins Monday. The Hurricanes are currently scheduled to practice every day at 10:30 a.m. at PNC Arena, and the team has released its full roster:
The schedule for the rest of the series is as follows:
- Game Two: Aug. 3
- Game Three: Aug. 4
- Game Four: Aug. 6*
- Game Five: Aug. 8*
*If necessary. The Hurricanes will serve as the “home” team (and will wear their black jerseys) for games one, two and, if necessary, five. The Eastern Conference qualifier games will start at noon, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. There will be at least five games per day.
All statistics from the qualifying round will be considered 2020 Stanley Cup Playoff stats. In addition, the league stated teams in the qualifying round are considered to have made the playoffs and played a playoff series, so the Hurricanes have made the playoffs in back to back years for the first time since 2001 and 2002.
After the series against the Rangers, the Canes’ focus will shift to one of two following events: with a loss, Phase 2 of the NHL’s Draft Lottery, or with a win, round one of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Because a placeholder team won Phase 1 of the lottery, on Aug. 10, the eight losers of the Qualifiers will get an equal shot at the first overall pick and Alexis Lafreniere.
The first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs will begin Aug. 11. If the Hurricanes beat the Rangers, they will face one of the Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals or Philadelphia Flyers in round one; those four teams will play for seeding during the Qualifiers.
Here’s the rest of the key (tentative) dates for the NHL’s return to play: