The Philadelphia Flyers are headed to the playoffs.
Well, it’s official: The Philadelphia Flyers are headed to the 2020 NHL playoffs.
Yup, you read that right, after suspending the regular season what felt like a lifetime ago (March 12th), real-life ‘in-person’ live sports are headed back to our collective TV sets this summer.
And if initial reports hold true, things are going to be very, very weird.
According to NBC, the league plans to cancel the remainder of the regular season, move right into the playoffs based on the league’s current standings, and put together an expanded playoff format with 24 teams instead of the traditional 16. Since the Flyers are currently a top-four seed in the Eastern Conference with a 41-21 record, they will also be one of the four teams taking part in a round-robin tournament to determine actual playoff seeding.
Confusing? Sure, but at this point, I’ll take it.
While the current playoff plans are reportedly still being finalized, a list of potential hub cities has been announced from which the league will run their initial swash of games. Depending on how things shake out, the Flyers could be playing anywhere from Chicago to Toronto, Ohio, or even *gasp* Pittsburgh when the league re-opens operations.
How ironic would it be for the Flyers to win the Stanley Cup in Pittsburgh while Penguins fans sit idly by? Not quite as good as winning it all at the Wells Fargo Center, but a pretty fun consolation prize.
Even more so, as per Sam Carchidi, the Flyers could actually earn the 1 seed if they win the round-robin tournament despite being 11 points behind the Boston during the abbreviated regular season. So you’re telling me the Flyer not only automatically earned a playoff berth and a first-round bye but also have a chance to be a 1 seed despite finishing out the regular season with the fourth-most wins in the Eastern Conference? I think we all remember what happened the last time a Philly team started off the playoffs in the 1 seed.
Could this all be for naught? Is there a scenario where the season gets put on hold yet again or worse, is ultimately canceled due to another outbreak, logistical issues, or financial disagreements between the players and the teams a la the MLB? Maybe so, but after months of being left in a vague haze, there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel for the NHL. And best of all, the Philadelphia Flyers are headed to the postseason!