Report: Las Vegas will serve as hub city for Eastern Conference in NHL’s return-to-play plan
Over the weekend, rumors surfaced that the NHL had selected Las Vegas as one of its two hub cities. There were also reports that the league would make a formal announcement on June 22nd, but we are now learning that no date has been set. This is likely due to the fact the league is still working diligently with the Canadian Government to ease its quarantine guidelines of 14 days for people entering Canada. If they can work it all out, Toronto is the rumored second hub city.
Teams won’t have home advantage in NHL’s return-to-play format
Although the NHL has received plenty of praise for how quickly they put forth the 24-team Return to Play format, some critics complained about fairness and integrity. That is why, when the play-in rounds begin around late July or early August, the Eastern Conference will play in Vegas. Since the Golden Knights are located there, they won’t have home-ice advantage. Remember, there will be no fans in attendance, but Vegas’ players would still have the benefit of being at home if not for the NHL’s adjustment.
Furthermore, according to the New York Post, when the action begins the NHL may go back to an old way of scheduling. Older hockey fans will recall the days when teams played their first two home games of a series on back-to-back nights. The league is considering this to save some time in each round to award the Stanley Cup no later than the end of September.
NHL training camp schedule
The NHL and its Players Association have agreed to commence Phase 3 on July 10th, the official start of training camps. However, both sides haven’t decided how long training camp will last. Several players have said they need two to three weeks to prepare. If both sides can agree to two weeks, the exhibition and play-in rounds could begin in late July.
Another matter that will be a fun topic to keep an eye on will be the announcement of each team’s “Black Aces”. This is an old hockey term for your playoff reserves, or your “ace in the hole” should any club be beset by injuries. Currently, the league will allow 28 skaters and unlimited goalies, which is a significant increase to the regular season’s 23 max limit. Who will be added to the expanded rosters will be of great interest to many fanbases.