One week ago, it seemed like a given that Las Vegas was going to be named one of the hub cities for the NHL’s expected postseason. However, due to Sin City’s massive increase in COVID-19 cases, the NHL has reportedly made the decision to move forward with two Canadian cities as the hubs for the playoffs.
On Canada Day, because of course, TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported that Edmonton and Toronto will indeed be the NHL’s two hub cities.
Barring any last-minute complications, and we have seen some of those (Vancouver and Las Vegas), the two NHL Hub cities will be Edmonton and Toronto.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 1, 2020
Making two Canadian cities the hubs for the postseason makes a ton of sense. For one, Canada has done a much better job of handling the COVID-19 pandemic than the United States. Thus far, there have only been 104,000 confirmed cases in Canada while the United States is swiftly approaching 3 million cases. If the NHL’s goal is to keep players from being exposed to the virus, it’s probably best to play games in a country where the virus isn’t nearly as widespread.
So, what does this mean for the Flyers, and where will they be playing their three-game round-robin series against the Bruins, Lightning and Capitals? Many believe that Eastern Conference teams will be playing in Edmonton while the Western Conference teams will play in Toronto in order to eliminate any form of home-ice advantage. However, in his latest 31 Thoughts Column, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that the opposite could be true. Without fans in attendance, there really wouldn’t be much of a home-ice advantage to begin with.
As of now, NHL training camps for teams participating in the 24-team postseason tournament are expected to begin on July 10, though that date may need to be pushed back as European players make their way back into North America.