Rick Zamperin: Proposed Canadian NHL division has some pros and cons

When the puck drops on the 2020-21 National Hockey League season there will most likely be a division made up of all seven Canadian teams.

It hasn’t been officially announced by the league yet, heck the NHL has yet to reveal when its upcoming season will begin, but there have been some hints about grouping all seven Canadian teams together for an abbreviated campaign.

You can blame — or thank — COVID-19, the border closure and quarantine regulations for forcing the NHL’s hand to group together the Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Winnipeg Jets, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks.

Click to play video 'Indigenous NHL pioneer Fred Sasakamoose dies from COVID-19' Indigenous NHL pioneer Fred Sasakamoose dies from COVID-19

Indigenous NHL pioneer Fred Sasakamoose dies from COVID-19

There are some pros, and at least one con, to a Canadian-only division.

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If the NHL keeps its current 16-team playoff format — in which each division winner, second and third-place team, and two wild card teams per conference qualify — there could be as few as three Canadian teams that make the playoffs and by round two, there would only be one left.

Read more: Bettman says NHL could go with temporary realignment for next season

Then again, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver made the Stanley Cup playoffs in the NHL’s summer bubble, and only the Canucks were able to advance to the second round.

On the flip side, as many as five Canadian teams could punch a ticket to the post-season.

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The biggest plus would be watching all seven Canadian-based teams duke it out night after night for as many as six, seven or eight times during the season, depending on how many games the league decides to play next year.

That many games, with a few back-to-back nights thrown into the mix in a relatively short amount of time, would generate a lot of ill will on the ice and create a superb sprint to the playoffs.

Rick Zamperin is the assistant program, news and senior sports director at Global News Radio 900 CHML.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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