2020 NHL playoffs: NHL, NHLPA complete big step in return to play, announce schedule


Updated: 7:50 p.m.

Signed, sealed and hockey soon to be delivered.

The NHL and NHLPA completed the ratification process of the league’s return-to-play plan and four-year CBA extension, setting up for a resumption and conclusion of the 2019-20 season in the anticipated 24-team tournament.

The NHL’s board of governors and the full NHLPA membership needed to sign off on the agreement in a vote Friday night. For full details on the agreed upon CBA memorandum of understanding, click here.

Meanwhile, here's what we know on the return-to-play 24-team tournament:

The hub cities are Toronto (Eastern Conference) and Edmonton, Alberta (Western Conference).

The NHL has set Aug. 1 as the start date of the qualifying round. The round robin, featuring the Flyers, Bruins, Lightning and Capitals in the East to determine the conference's top four seeds, will begin Aug. 2. The Flyers open against the Bruins, as you can see the schedule right here.

There will be five games a day from Aug. 1-2 and six games a day from Aug. 3-9.

Per the NHL's release:

The start times for the 10 days of Stanley Cup qualifiers in Toronto (Eastern Conference games) will be: Noon, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. ET. In order to maximize the viewing experience for fans across North America, the start times for the three game windows in Edmonton (Western Conference games) — 2 p.m. ET, 6:30 p.m. ET and 10:30 p.m. ET — may fluctuate by up to 30 minutes during the qualifying round.

Monday is when clubs are scheduled to open formal training camp at their respective practice facilities and July 26 is when clubs are expected to travel to their respective hub city. Exhibition games will be played July 28-30 prior to the qualifying round.

Training camps are a big step for the NHL in its goal of finishing the 2019-20 season and awarding the Stanley Cup. The season was suspended March 12 because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The Flyers have a nice opportunity in the round-robin tournament as the East's No. 4 seed and with a chance to climb.

Below are the new critical dates for the NHL schedule (graphic courtesy of the league):

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