The NHL -- like every major sports league -- was forced to put the 2019-20 season on pause in March due to the coronavirus outbreak. And also like every other major sports league, the NHL is trying to find a way to start up again relatively soon. According to TSN's Pierre LeBrun, in a league call this week it was made clear that the league's "preference and priority" is to have regular season games before the postseason begins.
"Whether that's 82 (games) - probably not - 78, 76, 74, all possibilities mentioned on that call," LeBrun said.
The NHL has played the large majority of its season with teams playing as many as 71 games and as few as 68. Of course, there are races that are neck-in-neck. The Bruins hold an eight-point lead over the Lightning for the Atlantic Division crown, but in the other three divisions there are three points or less between the top two teams.
The postseason format may have to be altered if the league holds more regular season games when it returns. Typically, 16 wins is what is required to hoist the Stanley Cup, but circumstances may force the league to change their format.
Additionally, TSN's Darren Dreger conducted a "flash poll" with 24 general managers, and 20 said that they would be in favor of a best-of-five series from the opening round until the conference final. Those general managers still prefer a seven-game series to determine the Stanley Cup Champion. The other four want to leave the postseason as all seven-game series.
"One GM said a best-of-three in Round 1, a best-of-five in Round 2, and then best-of-seven for the conference final and Stanley Cup Final," Dreger said. "And then one creative general manager suggested one-game series for the first three rounds, then a best-of-three in the Stanley Cup Final."
The NHL has debated several scenarios they could utilize to resume the 2019-20 season.on Monday that North Dakota is a location that the NHL is considering having every team at.
Commissioner Gary Bettmanweek that the NHL isn't afraid to have the season go into the summer months. As of right now, the league is taking a wait-and-see approach in the hopes that a return can happen, but no target date has been announced.