In the absence of any action on the ice in North America, the NHL has decided to run a simulator to give fans a taste of traditional playoff action this April. In partnership with EA Sports, the NHL authorities have been recreating the action in a virtual format, using EA’s NHL 20 video game software to simulate the games. The playoffs are screened live online on Facebook, Twitch and YouTube.
Of course, not all sports are cancelled at the moment, and you can view this schedule of upcoming hockey games from across the globe. But April traditional meant business time for NHL fans, and they would have been right in the thick of the playoffs at the moment. To help maintain excitement, the NHL is, relatively speaking, treating the reporting of the fixtures with the same kind of diligence it would do for the regular playoffs.
At the time of writing, 16 teams are taking part in the virtual tournament, i.e. those that were sitting in the playoff spots when the season halted in March, including the betting favourite for the Stanley Cup before the postponement, the Boston Bruins. The event will be played out as if in a real-time, with Round 1 of the Playoffs wrapping up towards the end of April, Round 2 and Conference Finals in May, and the Stanley Cup Finals being completed in June.