The NHL’s Return to Play Plan is Rumored to send the East to Vegas
The NHL’s Return to Play Plan is getting more and more rounded as rumors surface that Las Vegas will be hosting the Eastern Conference portion of the NHL playoffs.
It seems like every day we get more and more information about the NHL’s return to play plan. While nothing is certain or even cemented, other than the fact that phase two, which offers optional skates for six players at the team’s practice facility at a time, is underway, there seems to be a more coherent plan. At least for the Eastern Conference.
Multiple reports have indicated that not only will Vegas and T-Mobile Arena be one of the two “hub” cities that will host the exhibition, play-in, and playoff games, but it will do so for the opposing conference of the city’s own Golden Knights.
This makes a lot of sense when you consider that many teams would argue that allowing the host city to play in its own arena would be an advantage to that team.
The only issue is the fact that Vegas is on the pacific timezone. Meaning that to ensure that fans of the eastern conference aren’t staying up until two in the morning to watch their team play, they would have to play earlier in the day. The three hour time difference can be pretty brutal and with multiple games per day scheduled, there just might be some really early or late games.
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Now some players may actually enjoy this and take the extra time each night to get the proper rest in a schedule that will more likely than not be jam-packed with back to back games.
There is still plenty of time to figure this all out. We are still in Phase Two and there is still plenty of time before Phase Three, which for now is scheduled for July 10th, begins. The Carolina Hurricanes have taken the time to allow players to practice on their own before beginning phase two on their own.
Some teams, namely the Canadian teams like Toronto and Montreal, might be forced to head to Vegas earlier to conduct their training camp with Canadian regulations still not lifted for COVID. That might also help ensure that the transition for other teams is a bit smoother as they press out the wrinkles.
Those same regulations might force the second hub city away from Canada and land it on an eastern city where the time zone issues would be reversed. It will be really interesting to see how this all pans out. For now, all we can look for is some semblance of normalcy and some hockey to watch.
Question for CC Readers: Do you think the East should play in Vegas or someplace closer to home?