Blackhawks season not over yet, NHL announces reopening plan

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CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – MARCH 11: Corey Crawford #50 of the Chicago Blackhawks minds the net against the San Jose Sharks at the United Center on March 11, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — The Chicago Blackhawks season will go on at some point, but seven other NHL teams are done for the year.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced a reopening plan for the league Tuesday afternoon. Bettman began by saying that the regular season is finished. The seven teams that didn’t have a shot at the playoffs are done. They’ll go into the draft lottery.

The remaining 24 teams will resume play in round-robin series with the dates and locations to be determined pending how the coronavirus continues to unfold and how available testing becomes.

The top four teams in each conference will square off in series to determine seeding for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The remaining eight teams in each conference will play best-of-five series to determine which ones get into the playoffs. The Blackhawks are one of those teams. They’re the 12th seed in the West. They’ll face 5th seeded Edmonton in a play-in series.

Once the playoff field is set the first and second rounds will be best-of-five or best-of-seven game series which will be determined at a later date. The Conference Finals and the Stanley Cup Finals will be best-of-seven series.

All games will be played in two hub cities that have yet to be determined. The Eastern Conference teams will play in one city, the Western Conference teams will play in the other.

Ten cities are being considered for the two hub cities. Chicago is one of them.

Bettman says in early June teams can return to their practice facilities in small groups. Formal training camps won’t open any earlier than July 1. The playoffs will run in the summer and into the early fall.

Bettman says the reopening plan isn’t perfect, but it accomplishes the number one goal of crowning a Stanley Cup Champion for this year. “We believe we have constructed an overall plan that includes all teams that as a practical matter might have had a chance of qualifying for the playoffs when the season was lost,” said Bettman. “And this plan will produce a worthy Stanley Cup champion who will have run the postseason gauntlet that is unique to the NHL.”

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