The NHL is trying to move along in its plan to play process. They have already begun Phase 2 and they announced when Phase 3 would begin. All they have to do now is figure out Phase 4 and the hub cities.
It has been reported that Las Vegas is going to be one of the hub cities. That is where the Eastern Conference is going to report because on Newsday.com it said that the New York Rangers and the New York Islanders will be going to Vegas.
Since that’s the case, what is the second hub city going to be? It has been cut down to five or six choices. Dallas, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis/St. Paul have been eliminated from the list. I am not shocked about Los Angeles and Minneapolis/St. Paul, but I’m a little surprised about Dallas.
The choices are Edmonton, Vancouver, Toronto, Pittsburgh, Columbus, and Chicago. I think Chicago is going to be the next city out. It is going to come down to the other five on the list not named Chicago. I think it is going to be in Pittsburgh or Columbus, but the NHL and the Canadian Government are trying to work out a deal that wouldn’t require players to quarantine for 14 days.
If a deal can be worked out, it is possible that teams from the Western Conference will report to Toronto, since the league office is in that city. If not, it will be Columbus or Pittsburgh.
I would not be surprised to see an announcement this week about the two hub cities and when the Stanley Cup Playoffs will begin. The reason why the east is going out west is due to a home-ice advantage thing, but don’t tell that to the Washington Capitals, who won the Stanley Cup there in 2018 against the Vegas Golden Knights in five games.
The playoffs are going to be very unpredictable this season. This is usually the most fun time of year and it is going to be interesting to see what happens. I am a little surprised they chose Vegas as one of the hub cities, but a lot of things are opening up in Vegas.
The Stanley Cup Playoffs are the heart and soul of the NHL season. It is also the most exciting time of year.
The Stanley Cup Playoffs would feel better if they were played in the springtime and early summer, but it is obviously better than not having one at all. It is going to be interesting to see also which teams are also happy just to be there. I am sure the top tier teams want to win it all. I am curious to see how the 24-team playoff format is going to work. This is going to be a once in a lifetime thing. It could get really exciting, but this plan can also backfire here.
There will also need to be a date where teams will have to report to their respective hub cities, considering the fact that training camp will begin Friday, July 10th. Once we have an official date for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, everyone is going to be happy. For now, though, we are going to have to wait on the postseason date and the official hub cities announcement.
Where do you think the two hub cities will be for the Stanley Cup Playoffs? Leave a comment below.
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Follow Glenn Kaplan on Twitter @glennkaplan13.