(WCCO) — As of March 12, the Minnesota Wild had skated to a 35-27-7 record, compiling 77 points in the process. That put them in sixth place in the Central Division. And that’s where their 2019-2020 regular season record will stand.
The NHL postponed the remainder of the season in mid-March, thanks to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The league announced Tuesday that the regular season will not resume.
But that doesn’t mean hockey is over. The NHL also announced the specifics of its Return to Play Plan, a 24-team playoff tournament to determine the Stanley Cup winner. According to Commissioner Gary Bettman, “the reason we are doing this is because our fans have told us in overwhelming numbers that they want to complete the season if at all possible. And our players and our teams are clear that they want to play and bring the season to its rightful conclusion.”
To set up first-round seeding, the top four seeds in the Eastern and Western Conferences (based on points percentage) will play in a round robin. The 16 remaining teams, including the Wild, will match up in the qualifying round. The Wild will face the Vancouver Canucks for a chance to play on.
The tournament format beyond the opening rounds, not to mention the actual start date, has yet to be determined. Initial games will be played in two hub cities. Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Pittsburgh, Toronto and Vancouver are among the possible locations.
When the tournament starts and where it is played depend on conditions connected to COVID-19, which remain fluid. A more fleshed-out tournament format will likely be announced in the coming days or weeks.