NHL Approves 24-team Playoff Format, CBJ to Play Toronto


NEW YORK, New York (WTVN)--The National Hockey League Tuesday announced a return-to-play plan that will consist of a 24-team playoff format, to determine this season's Stanley Cup champion.

The Columbus Blue Jackets, under the format, will play the Toronto Maple Leafs in a best-of-five series in the first round.

League Commissioner Gary Bettman says games will take place in two hub cities, but fans will not be allowed to attend.

Those hub cities are still under consideration, but Columbus is considered to be a candidate.

Players can begin working out in early June and team practices being in early July. Bettman said they will decide when games begin depending on conditions during the pandemic.

The commissioner also now expects the 2019-2020 season to go well into the fall, which is when a typical NHL season starts.