If the NHL playoffs end up happening, it looks like all of the action is going to be north of the border.
Sportsnet reported earlier this afternoon that Edmonton and Toronto have been selected as hub cities, with a formal announcement to come sometime soon.
Other reporters have since confirmed those reports.
An #NHL team executive confirms to The Post that Toronto and Edmonton were selected as hub cities.— Mollie Walker (@MollieeWalkerr) July 1, 2020
The Sportsnet article linked above also makes note of the fact that Elliotte Friedman reported that (sensibly) the Eastern Conference teams will be in Toronto and the Western Conference teams will be in Edmonton.
It remains to be seen where the Final will be played.
If the reports are to be believed (and when there are this many “reports,” they’re rarely wrong), this appears to be a good sense decision by the NHL.
Frankly, large swaths of the United States are in the midst of disastrous COVID-19 spikes, and even the states that are seeing encouraging trends are still a cluster or two away from falling into the same state.
Canada appears to have a better handle on the virus, and the cities above have the amenities needed to support the league’s hub plan.
While some will cry foul/favoritism, with no fans, there’s really not going to be any home-ice advantage in these series. One could argue that the Leafs will be more comfortable in their own arena, but how much impact will that really have?
Presumably, the league will still require players from the home cities to stay in the hubs/clusters/pods/whatever like the rest of the teams, so it’s not like the Oilers players will get the luxury of sleeping in their own beds every night.
Overall, another step toward resumption by the league, again with the caveat that things are fluid.
Training camps could start in just a couple of weeks, and teams would likely end up heading to their hub cities before the end of the month.