The National Hockey League (NHL) still hopes to allow Canadian teams that advance to the playoffs to play their home games at their usual home, but a bubble transfer to the United States is not excluded.
According to Sportsnet reporter Elliotte Friedman, the NHL is keeping the door open to a few scenarios, depending on the evolution of the pandemic. The closure of the border between the two countries continues to make it difficult for North American sports leagues. In hockey, a Canadian section was formed to give the seven maple leaf clubs the chance to play, while in other disciplines, Canada’s teams are once again forced to evolve in Uncle Sam’s country.
With the first two qualifying rounds taking place within the four sections – with the top ranked team in each of them facing fourth and the second and third tier clubs playing against each other in the first round – the Circuit Bettman shouldn’t be in too much trouble at the start.
“We know what the situation is across the country. Cases are on the rise, some places are more affected than others. From what I can tell now, the plan is still to have Canadian teams play in their respective cities, Friedman said. However, if the context requires the establishment of a bubble, the four formations will probably have to move towards the United States. ”
The final rounds
And what about rounds 3 and 4 of the heats? In the Stanley Cup semifinals, a Canadian team will inevitably face rivals across the border. The NHL would keep its fingers crossed to improve the overall picture of the pandemic.
“Again, she hopes that clubs across the country can play in their city. If there is a bubble, it will in principle be in the United States. «
Last summer the league hosted its playoffs in Edmonton and Toronto, but this year it’s better south than north of the border, at least when it comes to access to arenas. While the games in the North section are still held behind closed doors, most of those played on American soil are held in the presence of supporters. In fact, the Chicago Blackhawks are the only team in the United States that has yet to allow spectators to attend home games.