by Nick Gilbert / May 1, 2021
The National Hockey League is weeks away from wrapping up its regular season and the playoffs are just weeks away. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the NHL restructured the divisions and aligned some things that made more sense in terms of geographical location to cut down on travel restrictions. For instance, all of Canada’s teams are in one division themselves as they make up the North Division, then you have the West, Central, and East. The reason all of Canada’s teams are in one division and not spread out throughout other divisions based on where they are in the country is they all make up one division because of the border issues.
Canada has strict issues when it comes to those entering their country. They currently have a mandatory 14-day quarantine for anyone who enters Canada. This causes implications and problems for the upcoming playoffs. The current format is the top 4 teams in each of the 4 divisions faceoff amongst their own division. The #1 seed plays #4 and #2 against #3. Which then the winners faceoff making it down to the final four who are then reseeded based off of their regular season record. This is where the problem comes in, with the final four making up of one team from each division leaving one Canadian team in the mix.
Due to border restrictions and mandates, no team or player will be able to leave and enter Canada without the mandatory 14-day quarantine which will in turn make it impossible to have the normal 2-2-1-1-1 playoff series or any at that matter. The current scenarios that are being presented to the Canadian government are that the two teams who will be competing, one being the Canadian team, have special privileges to come and go for the duration of the Canadian team being in the Stanley Cup Playoffs; and the second being that the Canadian government does not comply and to have the Canadian team move to a U.S. city for the duration of their stay.
More to come in the following week, as the NHL has at least until June to figure things out having that the round of “Final Four” will not start until then.