The NHL showed more flexibility today, deciding to pick a format that their players preferred by announcing teams will be re-seeded after each round AND having all series be best-of-seven (after the play-in).
The NHL Playoffs will not be bracketed, but re-seeded after every round. Qualifying will be best-of-five. All other rounds will be best-of-seven.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) June 4, 2020
For the Penguins, this is some good news. The biggest factor is the first one of beating Montreal in the five-game series still remains, but from there, this is favorable. As the fifth seed, Pittsburgh would play the fourth seed, the lowest of the teams with a bye. That’s still to be determined exactly who that will be, but the fourth seed figures to be the team that’s playing the worst of the top seeds, so it could be advantageous.
Also getting the normal, best of seven game series after the play-in is a good thing for the format and normalcy as well.
The "integrity" of the playoffs was prioritized with this decision. It was important to the players. But the entire playoff tournament could last 68 days, which might pose challenges if a second wave of coronavirus hits in the fall.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) June 4, 2020
Time seems to be of the essence as we get into the first week of June now, without knowing the exact dates of when full team training camps will begin (maybe sometime in mid-July?) or even where the hub cities will be for these games. As always though, the league continues to work and sort out exactly how they will try to finish this season as plans continue to be made.