The format is generally fine, given the situation. The only request I make is that once reduced to 16 teams, all playoff rounds must be best of seven so as to mimic the normal playoffs.
Like the Leafs stood a chance regardless of format.
Because by extending to 24 teams, you include big markets like Montréal, NY Rangers and Chicago. It's only a money thing.
But my understanding is: that stupid best-of-5 qualifying round is not part of the playoffs, technically speaking. The losers of this series won't be listed as qualified teams for the playoffs in the record and stats.
That being said, yes, screw that, just cancel the goddamn season and try to have a more "normal" 2020-2021 season.
If there are no fans in the building, I really don't think it matters. Without fans, they're ALL neutral. Honestly. What creates the home ice advantage?
1. Fans, their reactions, their urging on, and the opposite against the opponent.
2. Last change. They'll have that in any building in adherence to whomever is supposed to be the "home" team for any given game.
So, we're back to just last change. No other home ice advantage.
At this point, it's two pa