Edmonton and Toronto have been unofficially announced as the restart hub cities for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie had first reported that the NHL was looking at two Canadian cities after Las Vegas showed a spike in cases.
With Edmonton and Toronto being chosen, this ultimately eliminates neutrality for any teams who are playing in either city. In the East, #9 Toronto is playing #8 Columbus and we all saw last season how Columbus wiped the floor with first seeded Tampa with a 4-0 sweep. Whether that was luck or a flop from Tampa or a big hurrah from a Columbus team desperate to take down the number one seed and move on, we, as fans, don’t know, but how will this fare with each Eastern conference game being played in Toronto? The best is yet to come.
Now, the same question has to be asked about the West with #5 Edmonton playing host to #12 Chicago. Edmonton has the better matchup being the #5 seed in the West and playing a team who would not be in the playoffs otherwise. While there could be a matchup in Edmonton being that Chicago is in one of the toughest divisions in hockey, they are no stranger to fighting for games, having to fight for nearly every point during the regular season.
I believe if Edmonton and Toronto have home ice advantage for every single game, then both teams will make a deeper run in the playoffs than they would under normal circumstances.
While this is different for hockey fans across the world, there is no doubt that fans are ready to finally watch some hockey and get back into the swing of things. This is undoubtedly the strangest thing to happen in the world of sports since the lights went out during Super Bowl 47.