Another day, another step closer to a potential return to hockey.
Elliotte Friedman reported in his weekly 31 Thoughts column that the playoff format is nearing a vote and could be decided as early as Friday night.
Top four in each conference (based on points percentage) get byes. Then it is a “bracketed” setup: 5 vs. 12 (winner plays 4), 6 vs. 11 (winner plays 3), 7 vs. 10 (winner plays 2), 8 vs. 9 (winner plays 1). That’s how the NCAA basketball tournament does it, with the exception that the higher seeds have no byes.
Series best-of-five in the “play-in,” and best-of-seven after.
As it stands today, the Blue Jackets would be the nine-seed and would square off against the eight-seeded Toronto Maple Leafs. The winner of that series would face the top-ranked team in the Eastern Conference and the NHL, the Boston Bruins.
Sportsnet is already publishing playoff preview pieces between the two clubs.
That seeding could change with a set of round-robin games, if those come to pass. There are still plenty of question marks, but like Friedman concludes: "At the very least, we’re getting closer to finding out what the post-season will look like."