There is no doubt that due to COVID-19, the last few months have been trying for everyone across the USA in both a personal and work sense. Sports have also been majorly affected, and the NHL was no exception. Their decision to suspend the 2019/20 season on March 12th left hockey fans around Chicago with a real lack of action and news. While you could enjoy games at online casino apps to stay entertained or pick up a new hobby, most hockey fans have been desperate for the season to restart.
That makes the NHL’s recent announcement to resume the 2019/20 season as of August 1st, 2020, a massive relief. For fans of the Chicago Blackhawks, it will be great to have the team on the ice again and to see how the remainder of their season pans out.
But how exactly will the resumed NHL season work, and what might this mean for the Blackhawks?
How will the 2019/20 season be completed?
That is the major question all hockey fans around Chi-town want answered. The NHL has confirmed that training camps will begin from July 10th 2020 for individual teams. After that, sides will then travel to either Toronto or Edmonton to play games. Teams in the Western Conference will play at Edmonton while Eastern Conference teams will play in Toronto.
The first round of qualifying games will begin on August 1st. The top four teams in each conference based on current points percentage automatically get a playoff spot but play games to determine seedings. All other teams will be matched up according to points percentage to play a best of five series. The winners of this will then go into the playoffs in a bid to eventually take home the Stanley Cup.
What does this mean for the Blackhawks?
As you will see from the above information, the Blackhawks will be playing games in Edmonton and will have to play a best of five qualifying series to make the playoffs. But who will they be paired off with? The NHL has confirmed that they will face the Edmonton Oilers, which will be no mean feat. It is not made easier by the Oilers being on home turf! While there may not be crowds of home fans to cheer them on, the reduced travel time and familiarity of being in their home stadium gives the Oilers an edge.
The other worry for Blackhawks fans is the gaps in quality around the side and especially around the blue-line. With an Oilers team that likes to attack, the Blackhawks will need to be on-point defensively to stand a chance.
But it is not all bad news for the Blackhawks. Some fans might be quietly confident of beating the Oilers and making it through to the Stanley Cup playoffs.
A decent record so far in 2020 against the Oilers
One significant advantage the Blackhawks bring into this qualifying series is the form they have shown against the Oilers in 2020 to date. They have won two out of three meetings between the sides with a 4-3 victory on March 5th being the most recent result. This gives the team from Chicago a huge psychological advantage and must leave them feeling confident of progressing.
You also have to look back to 1992, the last time these two sides met in post-season. That saw the Blackhawks dominate the seven-game series to progress. That will give the current team a lot of confidence to take into this qualifying series in Edmonton.
Another big boost for fans of the team in Chicago will be news that ace defensive linesman Brent Seabrook is set to return quicker than expected from injury to possibly play in the upcoming series. If that does happen, it will give the Blackhawks a massive boost. With the enforced COVID break giving other experienced Blackhawk players the chance to rest and recover, they could have a lot of fresh legs to bolster the team in August. If Patrick Kane can bring his A-game as he has during the regular season, the Chicago team could have enough firepower to win it.
Revised 2019/20 season should be awesome
While the 2019/20 season may be finishing in an unusual way, it should still give hockey fans around Chicago some great action to catch on TV. The upcoming series against the Oilers is winnable, and once you are into the playoffs, anything can happen. If the side can shake off the months of inactivity due to the COVID lockdown and come back firing on all cylinders, it could be quite the finish for fans to enjoy.
Make sure to check out our Blackhawks forum for the latest on the team.