2020 NHL Playoffs: Cam Neely calls playoff format 'disappointing' from Bruins' perspective

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Joe Haggerty
·3 min read
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Clearly the top-seeded Boston Bruins aren't getting any favors done for them with the new 24-team playoff format, and B's President Cam Neely didn't hide that fact while reacting to the NHL's return to play scenario.

Boston was the only team that had reached 100 points with roughly a month to go when the regular season was put on pause, and the B's were a shoo-in to be the No. 1 seed in all of the Stanley Cup Playoffs as Presidents' Trophy winners.

Now they could drop all the way to the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference bracket while taking part in a round-robin warm-up tournament with Washington, Tampa Bay and Philadelphia which will determine final seeding.

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The decision to wipe away everything Boston had accomplished in the first six months of the regular season was not lost on the B's president. Some might say the Bruins were screwed by the new format, but that's probably putting too strong of a point on it. 

Still, the format does very little to uphold Boston's dominance during the 2019-20 regular season.  

"Like everybody, I'm excited to get the next phase now that the players and owners have agreed on a format on the return to play. Hopefully we'll be able to get our facility open in a voluntary basis for the players to use," said Neely, during a Wednesday Zoom call with Bruins reporters. "With what the team was able to accomplish in the first 70 games and then the point spread we had - not only with the teams in the league, but also with the teams in our division and conference - to kind of have three games dictate where we fall in the conference standings is somewhat disappointing.

But the fact remains that these are uncharted times for everybody and we're just hoping that we can get on the ice to play meaningful hockey games. I expressed my feelings about where it was headed, but for the good of the game this is what they thought was best.

"I felt that the players would be amped up and ready to go whether there was round-robin games or play-in games during the playoffs while knowing other teams were playing competitive games. I understood why they landed on 24 [teams]. I just would have liked it without the round-robin for the top four seeds."

The Bruins still have a great chance at the top seed in the East given that they will have head-to-head games against the Caps, Lightning and Flyers to get ready, and they hold the tie-breaker based on regular-season point percentage. And home-ice advantage really doesn't even count for much if the games are going to be played in empty arenas at designated NHL hub cities over the summer. 

But they will have to go out and earn it again in the new format just as they did over the course of the first six months of the NHL regular season.

2020 NHL Playoffs: Cam Neely calls playoff format 'disappointing' from Bruins' perspective originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston