By: Maria From Watertown | Follow Me On Twitter @mariaofh2otown
With many teams returning to their home practice facilities beginning on Monday, June 8, this marks a significant step in preparing for the resumption of the 2019-2020 hockey season. Like many Boston Bruins fans, I have been starving to see the Black and Gold back on the ice. Bring on playoff hockey in July and August, baby!https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js
The return to business for the Boston Bruins, however, may not be what they expected or anticipated, largely due to the modified playoff format announced by the NHL on May 26th. The format itself was put together by the Return to Play Committee, which consisted of front office personnel from the NHL and the NHLPA, along with five league players, none of which were members of the Boston Bruins.
The @NHL has released a Return to Play Plan for the 2019-20 season.— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) May 26, 2020
◾ 24 teams to compete for #StanleyCup
◾ 2 hub cities will host games
◾ Protocol for return to training
◾ Draft Lottery
Full Details: https://t.co/JGXioEC4FA pic.twitter.com/3KoUjPRsq4
Under the “modified” format, the Bruins will be one of four teams that will participate in a round-robin tournament to determine playoff seeding for the top four Eastern Conference teams. During a conventional hockey season, the President’s Trophy winner would automatically be the number one seed to begin the playoffs. The good news is our Boston Bruins are the 2019-2020 President’s Trophy winner. The bad news is they will not be rewarded for being the best team in the league as a result of this unique season.https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js
The Bruins were well on their way to securing the number one seed before the 2019-2020 season came to a screeching halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During a recent interview, Bruins Team President, Cam Neely, expressed his disappointment with the tournament format. Of course, Cam and the team are disappointed – what team wouldn’t be disappointed when you’ve worked hard all season to be the number one team in the league only to be told that your efforts are basically not going to be taken into consideration.https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js
One of the catch-phrases that seem to be uttered time and time again as the NHL playoffs approach is …” just get in and anything can happen.” I would argue that the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs might be more challenging than in past seasons due to the unique circumstances playoff teams will be addressing and dealing with on a game-to-game basis. There is also a bit of a silver lining throughout what has been a relatively miserable 2020 to date in that the National Hockey League has a golden opportunity to showcase its sport, along with the toughness and resiliency of the athletes that will be participating in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
In my humble opinion, it should make no difference what playoff seed the Bruins are as long as they get in and show the hockey world that they are the best team in the league. Sometimes being the number one seed is not all it is cracked up to be – just ask the Tampa Bay Lightning.