The NHL hit pause on the 2019-20 season due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and there's no timetable for a possible return. While many alternatives have been discussed, teams on the bubble have a few requests if hockey returns to action.
Connor McDavid's Edmonton Oilers are currently in a playoff spot and would have home-ice advantage against the Calgary Flames, but points were and still are at a premium. The Oilers are second in the Pacific Division, just three points behind the Vegas Golden Knights for first place.
A potential first-place finish would mean the Oilers may not have to face the gritty Flames in the first round so, of course, McDavid is in favor of playing more games or having an expanded playoffs.
"I think [the standings] look pretty good right now," McDavid said in a conference call on Friday, "But you want a fair season. And a fair season is a full season. If we can do that, I think that's something we'd obviously prefer."
"… I don't think we can just step into the playoffs and Game 1, it's Calgary coming to Edmonton, and guys are running around trying to kill each other that haven't played for two months."
McDavid and the Oilers aren't the only ones who would prefer to play more games.
The Vancouver Canucks are tied with the Nashville Predators for the second wild-card spot with 78 points. However, the Predators would get the final spot in the West as of now. They hold the tiebreaker because they have more regulation wins.
"Either go by points percentage or play some more regular-season games," Vancouver's Bo Horvat said when asked about his thoughts on the subject. "Obviously, to make it completely fair, you'd want to play more regular-season games and have more games to get in. But if we're going to start playoffs right away, definitely by percentage, that would put us in. But it's tough to make that call."
There was a common consensus from all the players questioned: Play out the regular season so everything ends up being fair.
Only time will tell what happens with the formatting if the NHL decides to resume the season, but there have been talks that some officials would like a 24-team playoff format with the top teams receiving a first-round bye.
It's definitely interesting, but again, a majority of players care about the standings because it can determine whether or not you have home-ice advantage.
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Four teams (Detroit, New York Rangers, Ottawa and Vegas) do not currently have a captain.
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