The NHL released details of their Return-to-Play protocol yesterday to great fanfare and breathless media coverage because there has been basically nothing else to talk about.

Gary Bettman confirmed the league has declared the regular season complete and the next stage of the season will be a unique “Qualifying Round,” or what everyone is casually calling a play-in round.

You can read the details in our story linked below, as incomplete as they still are.

NHL Entry Draft Lottery and Playoff Format Nearly Finalized

Of note is he also confirmed that all teams who lose during during the play-in round, and therefore miss the playoffs, will become eligible for the NHL Draft Lottery.

It’s now all but officially confirmed the Maple Leafs will play Blue Jackets in the play-in round, and they must defeat them to get a playoff berth. If the Leafs lose they will get the Draft Lottery as a consolation prize. That’s not much, but still something The Leafs did trade away their first round pick for this season’s draft to the Hurricanes, but it had a condition attached such that if the Leafs wound up with a selection in top ten this year, the Hurricanes would get next year’s first round pick instead. That’s some unexpectedly fortunate language added in there by Kyle Dubas.

Still, of course, winning the consolation prize is not the outcome we all want. We want the Leafs to defeat the Blue Jackets and get into the playoffs to face... Oh, right, the Bruins (probably.)

And now we have about two months to wait for actual games to start...


Other News

Speaking of the Draft, here’s a view of the recent big movers in the public rankings.

If Tristen Robins sounds familiar, it may be from here.

Torstar agrees to $52M sale to NordStar Capital - CBC News
The current owners of the Toronto Star have agreed to be sold to NordStar Capital for $52 million. NordStar is a private holding company for two Toronto-area businessmen.