The NHL announced Thursday that all Stanley Cup playoff series will be best-of-seven setups after the qualifying round, and that it will reseed teams after each round instead of using a bracketing format.
The NHL Players Association had been pushing for both scenarios.
The decision to reseed teams could benefit the Flyers, who will compete with Boston, Tampa Bay, and Washington in a three-game round-robin round to determine the top four seeds in the Eastern Conference.
The Flyers, despite having 11 fewer points than Boston when the regular season was suspended (and later declared finished), could emerge as the No. 1 seed. The higher the seed, theoretically, the easier your matchups in playoff rounds.
Then again, upsets have become commonplace in the Stanley Cup playoffs. In 2010, for instance, the teams that were the East’s bottom two seeds -- the No. 7 Flyers and No. 8 Canadiens -- ended up in the conference final.
In the round-robin tourney, regular-season overtime and shootout rules will apply. If teams end up tied after the tournament, the winner will be declared on regular-season points percentage.
The qualifying round will have a best-of-five format, followed by the four best-of-seven series.
All the games will be played in two hub cities. The league has purposely delayed announcing the locations, saying it wants to wait and make sure there is no coronavirus outbreak in those cities.
The NHL also announced Thursday that players can return for small-group sessions -- no more than six players on the ice at a time -- at their training facilities Monday. This is considered Phase 2, and players can participate -- on a voluntary basis -- in on-ice and off-ice activities.
Even when the sessions start, many players plan to stay in their hometowns to work out so they can remain close to their families.
No definitive date has been given for the opening of training camps, other than that they will not start before July 10. The season is expected to resume in early August and will probably end in October, delaying the start of the 2020-21 season.
This season was suspended March 12 because of the coronavirus outbreak.