By Fred Wallace
Hi, this is Fred Wallace with " Off the Wire ".
In just over 2 weeks, the National Hockey League season is scheduled to resume, jumping immediately into the playoff round.
Play starts Saturday August 1st in the hub cities of Edmonton & Toronto.
The 12 Western Conference teams will compete in Edmonton while Toronto will host the dozen Eastern Conference entries.
In Edmonton; the defending Stanley Cup Champion St Louis Blues will be in the 4 team Round Robin with Colorado, Dallas and Vegas.
The other 8 Western Conference teams are locked in best of 5 elimination series
Winnipeg-Calgary, Vancouver-Minnesota, Arizona-Nashville plus Chicago & the Oilers will compete in a series to see which 4 teams advance to join the 4 Round Robin participants.
In Toronto, somewhat similar scenario; just different clubs.
Philadelphia, Boston, Washington and Tampa Bay are the 4 clubs in the Round Robin.
The Eastern Conference best of 5 series are Montreal-Pittsburgh, Rangers-Carolina, Islanders-Florida & Columbus against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Again the winner of the 4 series will advance and join the 4 Round Robin teams in the quarterfinals
What I like about the schedule is there are games all day every day beginning August 1st.
The only date in which it's possible there would be no action would be August 7th, but even at that, the potential does exist that August 7th could also have 6 games depending on how the best of 5 series are unfolding.
We've been without NHL Hockey for 4 months and while August 1st isn't the traditional launching spot for a season, I'm sure hockey fans are getting more excited as the " Opening Faceoff " approaches.
I'm Fred Wallace