One result of weekend-long talks between the NHL and NHLPA geared towards the NHL return is the consideration for just two hub cities, which would house 12 teams each, according to TSN reporter Darren Dreger. The NHL return scenarios previously centered on four hubs, ideally one for each division, but the weekend talks and momentum towards a 24-team Stanley Cup tournament brought about the interesting idea.
Canadian rights holder TSN was all over the news, which began with a tweet from Dreger, then was followed by a tweet from Bob McKenzie. He named Vegas as a potential hub because of numerous shuttered resorts that could house NHL teams near the T-Mobile Arena.
Nothing firmed up yet obviously but two hub cities instead of four is generating some buzz in discussions amongst teams. Las Vegas, for example, where an entire hotel/resort could be dedicated to the NHL and with easy access to the arena. https://t.co/PI8Se7MJsV
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) May 18, 2020
Perhaps players may enjoy their quarantine a little more in the sunshine of Las Vegas, assuming the pools could be open.
Following McKenzie’s report, Edmonton TSN reporter Ryan Rischaug confirmed Edmonton feels they too could house a dozen teams if the NHL chose the two-hub approach instead of four.
Oilers feel they could manage as many as a dozen teams in Edmonton if needed. https://t.co/LRHfvd3Xmg
— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) May 18, 2020
Last weekend, the Alberta province began allowing gatherings of up to 50 people, which is a significant step forward and places Alberta ahead of large parts of Canada and the United States in our recovery.
The NHL Board of Governors has a conference call set for 3 p.m. Monday. Decisions are not expected; however, it could be a unifying moment if consensus forms. This weekend, there appeared to be significant progress towards an NHL return, which features a 24-team playoff.
The proposal would make the Pittsburgh Penguins road to the Stanley Cup a little bit longer. In that NHL return scenario, the Penguins would likely play the Montreal Canadiens in a short play-in series. The NHL and NHLPA have discussed a three-game or five-game play-in series.
Before the coronavirus pause, the Penguins finished in third place in the Metro Division, and the Montreal Canadiens were 10 points behind the wild-card teams.
Other potential hub cities could be in Florida, as the state has also been ahead of others in opening parks and beaches but not suffered a spike in cases. Florida as a wealth of hotels and a current lack of tourism to fill those resorts. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has publicly invited professional sports teams to use Florida facilities.