2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs start date to be determined by NHL


The start date for the Stanley Cup Playoffs is unknown after the end of the NHL regular season was extended to May 16 on Saturday.

The extension was necessary to accommodate rescheduled games for the Vancouver Canucks, who had eight games postponed after a COVID-19 outbreak within the team.

Games in the Scotia North Division, made up of the seven Canada-based teams, will now end May 16. Each team is scheduled to complete its 56-game schedule.

The NHL regular season originally was to end May 8. The playoffs were originally scheduled to begin May 11.

“The NHL will continue to assess the progression of the regular season before announcing definitive dates for the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs,” the League said in a statement. “With the newly revised end date for the regular season for the North Division, it is possible that the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the East, Central and West Divisions could open a few days earlier than the North Division.”

The Discover Central and Honda West divisions have regular-season games scheduled for May 10, and the MassMutual East Division has one scheduled for May 11.

The Canucks, who have not played since March 24, can return to practice Sunday are scheduled to play the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

The Canucks had 21 players and four staff members test positive for a variant of the coronavirus. On Friday, they said their health was improving and they expected to complete the 56-game NHL regular season.

There have been 54 games postponed since the NHL season began Jan. 13, 49 because of COVID-19 protocol. Five games have been postponed because of weather-related issues.

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