Border Restrictions May Impact NHL Playoffs

The NHL has some figuring out to do, as the playoffs are approaching and, as you know, some teams play home games in Canada. What you may not know though is that there are some travel restrictions between Canada and the United States.

Right now, commissioner Gary Bettman said, options are still being considered.

“If we can’t travel in Canada, either as among the provinces or from the U.S. to Canada and back, we’ll make whatever adjustments we have to do to get the playoffs completed,” Bettman told reporters.

As it stands, the North Division solely consists of the seven Canadian franchises. The top four will qualify for the playoffs, then compete against each other to determine who advances to the semifinals.

The winner of that series will face the winner who emerges from the other three U.S.-based divisions — the East Division, Central and West Division — for the Stanley Cup Finals.

“The most important factor, as it has been either in the Return to Play (last season) or playing out this season, is the health and well-being of our players, (and) our other personnel in the communities in which we play,” Bettman said. “Where we play is going to depend on COVID, obviously. We hope to keep everybody healthy. And it’s going to depend on government regulations in terms of where we’re going to be able to travel our players and our teams, and where we can’t.

“As we have done throughout for the last year-plus, we’re going to continually review and explore all of our options and maintain the flexibility to do whatever we have to do with what we’re confronted with. I think you’ve seen that throughout this season.”

Written by Sam Amico

Sam Amico spent 15 years covering the NBA for Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports and NBA.com, along with a few other spots, and currently runs his own basketball website on the side, FortyEightMinutes.com.

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