NHL answers lingering questions, will initiate 'Phase 2' on June 8

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PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 10:  Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins warms up against the Philadelphia Flyers on March 10, 2020 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)
The NHL cleared up some unanswered questions around its playoff format on Thursday. (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

The NHL has answered a few of the lingering questions with its return-to-play format.

Deciding against shortening the postseason structure, the league will present the Stanley Cup playoffs in full. It will be the traditional seven-game format for all four rounds, while the qualifying round will be composed of a best-of-five series.

That means that a Stanley Cup champion may have to win 19 games in order the secure the sport’s greatest prize.

In addition, the NHL has backed away from its fervent desire to heed to a bracket, and will instead re-seed in each round — and within the conference — once the 16-team tournament has been established.

The league also confirmed the round-robin tournament between the top four teams automatically advancing to the Stanley Cup playoffs will have potential ties broken by regular-season percentage points.

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Later on Thursday, the NHL announced that it will initiate Phase 2 in the return-to-play process beginning June 8. That means clubs will be allowed to re-open training facilities as soon as Monday for “individualized training sessions” that will happen on a voluntary basis.

A maximum of six players will be allowed at the practice facilities at one time.

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