Thursday, June 18, 2020 / by Ken Couture
The NHL appears to be heading to Las Vegas as part of its return-to-play plan. If so, so will the Islanders and Rangers.
Multiple reports indicate the NHL will announce its decision on the two hub cities that will each host 12 teams on June 22. Some of the reports indicate that Las Vegas – one of the 10 candidate cities – will be one of the selections.
The NHL has said none of the 24 teams that would return to play under the league’s plan would play games in its home city. Since the Vegas Golden Knights are part of the Western Conference, that would mean the Eastern Conference would head to Las Vegas.
The seventh-seeded Islanders will face the 10th-seeded Florida Panthers in a best-of-five qualifying series for a berth in the NHL’s 16-team playoffs while the No. 11 Rangers will meet the sixth-seeded Carolina Hurricanes.
The NHL announced on Thursday that formal training camps – Phase 3 of the league’s return-to-play plan – will open on July 10. There is no set date for Phase 4, the resumption of games, but it’s expected training camps will last up to three weeks.
Training camps will not be conducted at the hub cities and most NHL teams are expected to hold their training camps at their team facility, though some or all of the six Canadian teams participating may move their camps to the U.S.
Phase 2 began on Monday as small-group workouts – no more than six players at a time – were permitted at team facilities without coaching supervision.
The NHL previously announced Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Pittsburgh, Toronto and Vancouver as the hub city candidates. The Canadian cities may be eliminated based on that country’s quarantine guidelines.
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