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NHL players discuss possible playoff formats

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ByReuters
28/03/2020 at 00:11 | Updated 28/03/2020 at 00:13

With the NHL season on an indefinite hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, players have plenty of time to ponder the potential return of the sport.

With it looking increasingly likely that a full 82-game regular season won't
be completed, attention is turning to how the playoffs might look.

In a Friday conference call involving players from four Pacific Division
teams, several potential playoff formats were floated.

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At the moment, teams have played between 68 and 71 games, calling into
question whether total points could be used as the deciding criteria or if the
percentage of points amassed should be utilized.

Calgary Flames defenseman Mark Giordano suggested an even more dramatic
departure.

"I've thought a lot about this," he said. "In a perfect world, you want to
play a full regular season and whoever gets in, gets in. But I don't think
realistically we're going to have that time.

"You can't eliminate teams that are in on points percentage. I think you go 12
(playoff teams in each conference). More teams get in this year. Maybe a
couple byes at the top, and play it out."

Vancouver Canucks center Bo Horvat said of his playoff preference, "Either go
by points percentage or play some more regular-season games.

"Obviously, to make it completely fair, you'd want to play more regular-season
games and have more games to get in. But if we're going to start playoffs
right away, definitely by percentage, that would put (the Canucks) in. But
it's tough to make that call."

Regardless of the playoff format, Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid said
he does not want action to resume with the start of the postseason.

"We want a fair season, and a fair season is a full season," McDavid said. "If
we can go do that, that's what we would obviously prefer. I don't think we can
just step into playoffs and Game 1, Calgary come to Edmonton and guys are just
running around killing each other and we haven't played a game in two months.
It would end up the Stockton Heat against the Bakersfield Condors, if that's
the case.

"We want to keep guys healthy, and we want to make sure that everyone is up
and ready for playoff hockey. ... If we can get back to playing, I think it
could be some of the best playoffs we've ever seen."

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson also favors a resumption of
the regular season.

"I think it's fair to start where we left off here," Ekman-Larsson said. "It
would be good for the playoffs, too, to get those games going again. It would
benefit all of us."

The current Pacific Division standings have the Vegas Golden Knights in first
place with 86 points in 71 games played (.606 point percentage), followed by
the Oilers (83, 71, .585), the Flames (79, 70, .564), the Canucks (78, 69,
.565), the Coyotes (74, 70, .529), the Anaheim Ducks (67, 71, .472), the Los
Angeles Kings (64, 70, .457) and the San Jose Sharks (63, 70, .450).

--Field Level Media

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