As of now, the current schedule of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs and NHL Return guidelines and rules cannot prevent an extended overtime period of one playoff game eventually postponing the following game in the same arena. Ironically and prior to the Tampa Bay Lightning and Columbus Blue Jackets taking five overtimes for the Lightning to take a 1-0 series lead with a 3-2 win and postpone Game 1 of the Boston Bruins-Carolina Hurricanes, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly confirmed to National Hockey Now that there’s nothing the league can do to prevent another postponement.
“That’s not an ideal situation but something we could manage and deal with certainly in the qualifying round and hopefully will be able to deal with in the first round of the playoffs,” Daly told NHN Reporter Rob Simpson.
That was the case Tuesday as the Lightning and Blue Jackets went five overtimes and 90:27 deep before Lightning forward Brayden Point won the marathon Game 1 of their first round series 3-2 and ended up postponing Game 1 of the Boston Bruins-Carolina Hurricanes first round series until 11 AM ET Tuesday morning.
“There would have been no change,” Daly replied when asked what would’ve happened in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers. “Obviously we didn’t have to face that situation but there would’ve been no change. During normal playoff overtime rule, we play til we win or we lose. We scheduled in a way we did – and it doesn’t help us this round – but we had it so the seeding games were played in the middle so that if we had a long game early, we would’ve known we were dealing with a delayed start situation for the late game.
Following the announcement that the Bruins game with the Hurricanes had been postponed, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy praised the NHL for keeping him and his team in the loop.
“The league did a good job, kept us informed what would happen if it’s going to be pushed back,” Cassidy said. “Eventually it was called.”
Daly said that was the plan as the league is trying their best to accommodate the game day routines and preparations of every team.
“For one, we can communicate with the clubs so that we can reset their expectations,” Daly said. “Two, we can make a call on whether it was a wise idea to play at all, and then we’d have to reschedule. Again, we didn’t have to have to do any of that but delayed start times, particularly if you have some kind of advance notice, is something our players can deal with and do in fact deal with on a regular basis on our outdoor games which when they start on time, it’s the exception as opposed to the rule, particularly when they’re scheduled in the middle of the day and we have sun.”
Here’s the full interview with Simpson and Daly: