Bruins

Bruce Cassidy hopes Bruins 'don't get screwed' based on new NHL playoff plan

Bruce Cassidy hopes Bruins 'don't get screwed' based on new NHL playoff plan

While Bruins players thought at one point they might have already been skating in small groups by this week, that moment will wait for at least another couple of weeks as Massachusetts goes through the phases of re-opening amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the NHL remains on target for a potential return in July and August that’s been building since the league put the regular season on pause in early March, and the plan is beginning to take focus.

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As early as this week, the NHL and NHLPA could approve a 24-team playoff that would include play-in games for the bottom playoff bubble teams, and a warm-up tournament for the higher seeds to get ready for a more conventional playoff to follow once they get down to 16 teams.

It would give new potential playoff life to teams like the Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers that might have thought their season was over and would set up some interesting matchups.

Based on the 12 Eastern Conference teams being ranked by points percentage, the top-seeded Bruins would play the winner of a Maple Leafs/Blue Jackets play-in series once the East was pared down to eight playoff teams.

Here’s how the Eastern Conference seeding would look:

1. Boston Bruins 7. New York Islanders
2. Tampa Bay Lightning 8. Toronto Maple Leafs
3. Washington Capitals 9. Columbus Blue Jackets
4. Philadelphia Flyers 10. Florida Panthers
5. Pittsburgh Penguins 11. New York Rangers
6. Carolina Hurricanes 12. Montreal Canadiens

The Bruins defeated both of those teams last season on the way to the Stanley Cup Playoffs and would clearly be the heavy favorites against either the Maple Leafs or the Blue Jackets.

All that being said, Bruce Cassidy would rather have the normal four-round Stanley Cup playoff format if he had his way with how things would proceed.

“From our position, I’d rather it be just 16 [teams] with four rounds of seven games and let’s go. That’s the integrity of the playoffs and it’s always been that way. I understand the players' perspective of wanting to get some games in because it gets ramped up in a hurry,” Cassidy said on 98.5 the Sports Hub’s "Toucher and Rich Show" on Wednesday morning. “You understand it’s no-holds barred once you get to the playoffs. That’s tough on the players. Other years they’d be allowed to work out and skate. Most guys are doing nothing. The odd guy in Sweden or in Europe might be skating, so they do need time to ramp it up health-wise.

“At the end of the day, it’s going to be unfair to somebody and that’s just the way it is. If you go with just 16 teams, then what about the last one or two teams on the bubble that don’t make it. Hopefully we got to the 16 teams the right way and it doesn’t hurt us.

That’s where I’m coming from that we don’t get kind of screwed in this process. Because we shouldn’t be. We should be rewarded for our regular season. I don’t think any scenario is going to be perfectly fair and I understand that. I’m just hopeful we get a chance to play, to be honest with you. Our guys know what’s at stake, so they will be ready no matter what the format will be.

The NHL is leaning toward a pair of Hub cities to host the Western and Eastern Conference playoff series with 12 teams in each of two designated NHL locales. Hockey sources have pinned Las Vegas as the top NHL choice for the Western Conference Hub city, but it remains unknown as to where the Eastern Conference Hub city would be located.

Florida would seem to be an ideal location based on the way the state has already opened up to pro sports leagues, but there close to 10 NHL locations that the league is looking at before settling on their two hub locations for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  

NHL round robin, qualifying series schedule 2020: Dates, scores for every game

NHL round robin, qualifying series schedule 2020: Dates, scores for every game

The NHL is officially returning to play.

The league and NHLPA ratified the Return to Play Plan and a new CBA deal Friday, paving the way for the 2019-20 season to finish. The regular season is over, but the league is not yet jumping into the first round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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The top four teams in each conference will determine their seeding for the first round by playing a round robin format. The teams ranked No. 5 through No. 12 in each conference will square off in a qualifying round that will use a Best-of-5 series format. The four winners of the qualifying series in each conference will be matched up against the top four teams for the first round based on seeding.

These games will take place in two host cities. The Eastern Conference games will be played at Scotiabank Place in Toronto, and the Western Conference matchups will be played at Rogers Place in Edmonton.

Here's the schedule for every round robin game and qualifying round series. Check back to this article after each game for scores and updated schedules.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

ROUND ROBIN
Sunday, Aug. 2: Philadelphia Flyers vs. Boston Bruins
Monday, Aug. 3:  Washington Capitals vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Lightning vs. Bruins
Thursday, Aug. 6: Capitals vs. Flyers
Saturday, Aug. 8: Bruins vs. Capitals
Sunday, Aug. 9: Flyers vs. Lightning

QUALIFYING ROUND
(No. 5) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (No. 12) Montreal Canadiens
Saturday, Aug. 1: Canadiens vs. Penguins
Monday, Aug. 3: Canadiens vs. Penguins
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Penguins vs. Canadiens
Friday, Aug. 7: Penguins vs. Canadiens*
Saturday, Aug. 8: Canadiens vs. Penguins*

(No. 6) Carolina Hurricanes vs. (No. 11) New York Rangers
Saturday, Aug. 1: Rangers vs. Hurricanes
Monday, Aug. 3: Rangers vs. Hurricanes
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Hurricanes vs. Rangers
Thursday, Aug. 6: Hurricanes vs. Rangers*
Saturday, Aug. 8: Rangers vs. Hurricanes*

(No. 7) New York Islanders vs. (No. 10) Florida Panthers
Saturday, Aug. 1: Panthers vs. Islanders
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Panthers vs. Islanders
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Islanders vs. Panthers
Friday, Aug. 7: Islanders vs. Panthers*
Sunday, Aug. 9: Panthers vs. Islanders*

(No. 8) Toronto Maple Leafs vs. (No. 9) Columbus Blue Jackets
Sunday, Aug. 2: Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs
Thursday, Aug. 6: Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets
Friday, Aug. 7: Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets*
Sunday, Aug. 9: Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs*
*If necessary

WESTERN CONFERENCE

ROUND ROBIN
Sunday, Aug. 2: St. Louis Blues vs. Colorado Avalanche
Monday, Aug. 3: Dallas Stars vs. Vegas Golden Knights
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Avalanche vs. Stars
Thursday, Aug. 6: Golden Knights vs. Blues
Saturday, Aug. 8: Golden Knights vs. Avalanche
Sunday, Aug. 9: Stars vs. Blues

QUALIFYING ROUND
(No. 5) Edmonton Oilers vs. (No. 12) Chicago Blackhawks
Saturday, Aug. 1: Blackhawks vs. Oilers
Monday, Aug. 3: Blackhawks vs. Oilers
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Oilers vs. Blackhawks
Friday, Aug. 7: Oilers vs. Blackhawks*
Saturday, Aug. 8: Blackhawks vs. Oilers*

(No. 6) Nashville Predators vs. (No. 11) Arizona Coyotes
Sunday, Aug. 2: Coyotes vs. Predators
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Coyotes vs. Predators
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Predators vs. Coyotes
Friday, Aug. 7: Predators vs. Coyotes*
Sunday, Aug. 9: Coyotes vs. Predators*

(No. 7) Vancouver Canucks vs. (No. 10) Minnesota Wild
Sunday, Aug. 2: Wild vs. Canucks
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Wild vs. Canucks
Thursday, Aug. 6: Canucks vs. Wild
Friday, Aug. 7: Canucks vs. Wild*
Sunday, Aug. 9: Wild vs. Canucks*

(No. 8) Calgary Flames vs. (No. 9) Winnipeg Jets
Saturday, Aug. 1: Jets vs. Flames
Monday, Aug. 3: Jets vs. Flames
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Flames vs. Jets
Thursday, Aug. 6: Flames vs. Jets*
Saturday, Aug. 8: Jets vs. Flames*
*If necessary

NHL Round Robin Schedule: Dates for Boston Bruins' three games revealed

NHL Round Robin Schedule: Dates for Boston Bruins' three games revealed

Hockey is back, and soon the Boston Bruins will resume their quest to win the Stanley Cup.

The NHL and NHLPA have officially ratified the Return to Play Plan and a new CBA deal, the two sides announced Friday. 

The league also released the schedule for the round robin and the qualifying round.

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The top four teams in each conference will play a round-robin format to determine their seeds for the first round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The No. 5 through No. 12 teams are taking part in a qualifying round that will use a Best-of-5 series format. The winners of the qualifying series will be matched up (based on seeding) with the top four teams in their respective conferences for the first round of the playoffs.

The Bruins finished the regular season as the Presidents' Trophy winners with the league's best record. They will enter the Eastern Conference's round robin along with the Philadelphia Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Washington Capitals. 

Here is the Bruins' round robin schedule. All of their games will be played in the host city of Toronto, and the start times have not yet been announced. 

--Sunday, Aug. 2: vs. Philadelphia Flyers
--Wednesday, Aug. 5: vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
--Saturday, Aug. 8: vs. Washington Capitals

The Bruins will begin their formal training camp Monday at Warrior Ice Arena.

Here are the other key dates for the league's return:

The Bruins have been on a mission all season to avenge last year's heartbreaking loss in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final and finish the job in 2020. Their opportunity to accomplish that goal begins in just a few weeks.