Friends, we’re inching closer and closer to perhaps hockey returning. The NHL and NHLPA have reportedly hammered out a lot of the details about a modified playoff format according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

Per Friedman, the top four teams in the each conference would get byes but play in a round robin of some sort against each other – presumably so they wouldn’t be coming into the second round cold. It’s unclear if (or how) the round robins would impact conference standings or bracketing.

The rest of the playoffs would be “bracketed.” That means, in both conferences 5 vs. 12, 6 vs. 11, 7 vs. 10, and 8 vs. 9.

So that would mean an Eastern Conference opening round of:

• 5. Pittsburgh vs. 12. Montreal (winner plays four seed)
• 6. Carolina vs. 11. Rangers (winner plays three seed)
• 7. Islanders vs. 10. Florida (winner plays two seed)
• 8. Toronto vs. 9. Columbus (winner plays one seed)

And a Western Conference opening round of:

• 5. Edmonton vs. 12. Chicago (winner plays four seed)
• 6. Nashville vs. 11. Arizona (winner plays three seed)
• 7. Vancouver vs. 10. Minnesota (winner plays two seed)
• 8. Calgary vs. 9. Winnipeg (winner plays one seed)

The opening round would be best-of-five, with the remaining four rounds retaining the traditional best-of-seven format.

Right now the format is all that seems to have progressed, as the question of two hubs or four hubs hasn’t been nailed down because frankly a lot of that is out of the league’s control.