Nashville, Tenn. (WKRN)- When the National Hockey League was put on pause back in March, there was no predicting what would happen. Now in late May, the league has announced a plan to return, skipping the remainder of the regular season, going straight into a 24-team playoff.
“I think this is as good of a format that anyone could’ve come up with. It’s not perfect, but I’m pleased with the format. It seems fair to the top four teams that get a bye and for teams like ourselves, we get to play a playoff series,” said Poile.
In this format, the Nashville Predators will continue their season, playing in a qualifying round, taking on the Arizona Coyotes in a ‘Best of Five’ game series.
“We played Arizona in the first or second week of the season and since then we haven’t seen them and there hasn’t been a whole lot of reason to follow them closely. It was under no scenario that I thought we’d be playing the Coyotes in the playoffs, but here we go.” said Poile.
The Predators have experienced their fair share of ups and downs this season, but Poile said this is a chance to press the ‘reset’ button and he truly believes they have a shot at winning the Stanley Cup.
“If there is any silver lining to all of this at least for organization we get to reset. We’ve had a good year but not a great year. We’ve had some good individual performances, and then we’ve had guys that have had a down year, so can maybe a pause can help them. I’m cautiously optimistic that this could be really good for the Predators,” said Poile.
But the Predators won’t be continuing play in Music City. The NHL will select two ‘hub cities’ for the playoffs, and Nashville did not make the cut.
“I think that Nashville checked the box on almost everything, but one thing we might not have enough of is dressing rooms downstairs, especially when you’re talking about 12 teams,” added Poile.
As for details on an immediate timeline, the Predators are working on the next step, trying to get the green light to open up facilities sometime in June. Training camp will likely start sometime in July, with the playoffs starting up shortly after that.