Blackhawks

Breaking down Blackhawks' path to Stanley Cup in 24-team Return to Play format

Breaking down Blackhawks' path to Stanley Cup in 24-team Return to Play format

The NHL and NHL Players' Association officially ironed out the final details of its 24-team Return to Play format, which is another positive step in the right direction as both sides look to reach an overall agreement on resuming play.

Here's a brief rundown of the most notable items from Thursday's announcement:

— The qualifying round will be composed of a best-of-5 series while the four other rounds will be best-of-7. 

— The top four teams from each conference will play each other in a round-robin format to determine the No. 1-4 seeds. Regular season points percentage will serve as the tiebreaker.

— Instead of the traditional bracketed format in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the NHL will reseed after each round, with the highest remaining seed in each conference facing the lowest remaining seed, etc.

— In the qualifying round and first and second rounds, the higher-seeded team will be designated as the home team. In the Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Final, the team with the higher regular season points percentage will be considered the home team.

The details shouldn't come as much of a surprise. It was important to the players to maintain the integrity of the playoffs while making sure the teams that had a strong regular season were rewarded with a favorable path. For the Blackhawks, the challenge got a little more difficult but that was to be expected.

This is what the Western Conference playoff picture looks like:

1. St. Louis Blues 
2. Colorado Avalanche
3. Vegas Golden Knights
4. Dallas Stars

5. Edmonton Oilers vs. 12. Chicago Blackhawks
6. Nashville Predators vs. 11. Arizona Coyotes
7. Vancouver Canucks vs. 10. Minnesota Wild
8. Calgary Flames vs. 9. Winnipeg Jets

Should they upset the Oilers in the qualifying round, the Blackhawks would face the highest seed of the round-robin winner in the first round of the playoffs. Right now, that's the defending Stanley Cup champion Blues, who swept the Blackhawks in a regular-season series for the first time in their 53-year history. The Blackhawks went 0-4-0 and were outscored by the Blues 16-8 this season.

Here's how the Blackhawks fared against the three other top seeds in the West:

— 1-3-0 vs. Colorado with a minus-8 goal differential (19 goals for, 11 goals against)
— 1-1-1 vs. Vegas with a minus-2 goal differential (nine goals for, seven goals against)
— 1-1-1 vs. Dallas with a plus-2 goal differential (five goals for, three goals against)

If the Blackhawks advance past the first round, their path will only get tougher. As the last seed in their respective conference, they will draw the highest seed as each round progresses under the re-seeding format.

But nobody should be disappointed about that. The Blackhawks have been given new life and Chicago will take it.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.s

Report: Edmonton expected to host Stanley Cup Final for NHL's 24-team playoff

Report: Edmonton expected to host Stanley Cup Final for NHL's 24-team playoff

On Wednesday, it was reported Edmonton and Toronto would serve as the two hub cities for the NHL's 24-team playoff format under the league's Return To Play plan.

Thursday, TSN's Bob McKenzie reported Edmonton was the favorite to host the Stanley Cup Final, as well as the Conference finals, of the two cities.

"With Edmonton and Toronto being chosen as the two NHL Hub cities, the question most often asked now is, which of the two will play host to the Stanley Cup final and Conference finals? The answer, apparently, is Edmonton," McKenzie tweeted.

Click here to download the My Teams app for the latest Blackhawks news and analysis.

He also guessed as to why Edmonton seems to be the choice to close out the playoffs on Twitter:

"I’m guessing the rationale for that decision is simply based on public health/safety/numbers. Whatever the reason(s), Edmonton it will be."

The Blackhawks are slated to take on the Oilers in a best-of-5 play-in series, expected to be played in Edmonton, on the Oilers' home ice.

Chicago was reportedly a top-4 finalist to be a hub before cuts were made.

Team training camps to lead up to the postseason are scheduled for July 10.

Why John Scott respected Blackhawks Hall of Famer Doug Wilson as Sharks' GM

Why John Scott respected Blackhawks Hall of Famer Doug Wilson as Sharks' GM

After last week's Hall of Fame elections were announced, 2016 All-Star MVP John Scott was thrilled that former teammate Marian Hossa got in on his first ballot. He was also happy for his former GM Doug Wilson.

"It's crazy he's going in as a player. I never really knew him as a player, just as a GM and he did a heck of a job in San Jose for all those years keeping those guys competitive and stuff and I don't think he really gets his due," said Scott, who was with the Sharks for the 2014-15 season. "Even though they didn't win a Cup, they contended for over two decades, so good for him too."

Related: How Selection Committee chooses who gets into Hockey Hall of Fame

Wilson played defense with the Blackhawks for 14 years — from 1977-91 — and spent the final two years of his career in San Jose. He recorded an incredible 827 points in 1,024 career NHL games as an offensively dangerous blueliner.

Click here to download the My Teams app for the latest Blackhawks news and analysis.

In 2003, he became the GM of the Sharks.

"I actually liked Doug and at the end of my tenure there, he said, 'John, I love you. I'd like to sign you again, but I don't know who the new coach is going to be. So we'll just leave it in the coach's hands. So I didn't really care for that," Scott said.

Related: Hall of Famer Doug Wilson reveals Blackhawks legend Stan Mikita ate raw steaks

"(Peter) DeBoer came in and he didn't really care for me, so we went different ways. But I like Doug, I thought he was very upfront, very honest with me and I really respect that out of a GM. So I'm happy he's getting in and what a smile on him, imagine his bust. It's going to be glorious."