The title hunt for Leon Draisaitl begins this Saturday. After the corona break, the North American professional ice hockey league NHL starts up again – and Draisaitl hopes with his Edmonton Oilers for the final games for the Stanley Cup. After winning the Art Ross Trophy for the best scorer (43 goals and 67 assists) in the preliminary round, the 24-year-old from Cologne also wants to be honored as the most valuable player of the NHL season (Hart Memorial Trophy) and the one chosen by the NHL professionals Clearing Ted Lindsay Award. But before that, the season interrupted on March 12 is continued in two Canadian “bubbles” with strict hygiene guidelines. “Personally, I’m very happy with the format now,” said Draisaitl. “This plan will produce a worthy Stanley Cup champion,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.

Where to play

In two Canadian cities – the so-called hub cities. The reason: In Canada, the number of coronavirus infections is significantly lower than in the USA. The Eastern Conference teams will play in the Maple Leafs Hall in Toronto. The Western Conference teams will be chasing goals in Edmonton. The two conference finals and the finals for the Stanley Cup will also take place in the home arena of Draisaitl. Spectators are not there.

What mode is played in?

The 24 best teams are on site, the knockout round starts. The four best teams in the east and west after the regular season are already in the first playoff round and fight for the best position in a so-called Round Roubin (three games, each against each other). The teams in positions five to twelve determine the opponents in a qualification in the best-of-five mode. In the first round, the winner needs the usual four wins (best-of-seven) to advance.

What is the schedule?

Qualification starts on August 1st with the encounter between the New York Rangers and the Carolina Hurricanes. The first playoff round begins on August 11th. The second round will take place on August 25, while the conference finals will start on September 8. The first Stanley Cup final will take place on September 22nd. A new champion will be available on October 4th at the latest.

Where are the teams located?

The teams are in a bubble during the tournament. None of the maximum 50 members of a team may leave the hygiene area during the games. The teams are based in three hotels in Edmonton and two in Toronto, each near the arenas. Bars, restaurants, cinemas and other sports facilities can be found in the respective zones. The professionals will have no contact with the outside world.

How do you test?

The teams are tested daily on Corona. Last between July 18 and 25, according to the league, there were no positive results in tests of over 800 players. If there is a corona case, the actor is immediately isolated. However, names are not published.

Is there criticism?

Teams that reach the finals live isolated from the outside world for almost ten weeks. Family visits are only possible at the conference finals. But: there were hardly any cancellations, all the stars are there.

Who is favorite?

Due to the long break there is no team that is considered a favorite before the start. “Every team that is now there has a chance of winning the Stanley Cup,” said Draisaitl.

Which Germans are there?

In addition to top star Draisaitl, Tobias Rieder (Calgary Flames), Korbinian Holzer (Nashville Predators), Nico Sturm (Minnesota Wild), Tom Kühnhackl and Thomas Greiss (both New York Islanders) and Philipp Grubauer (Colorado Avalanche) are also registered. dpa / nd