The Case for Pittsburgh as Potential Stanley Cup Playoff 'Hub City'
The NHL announced plans Tuesday to host a 24-team postseason to determine a Stanley Cup champion in 2020. Each conference will have 12 teams advance to the playoffs and the plan is to have each respective conference play in a "hub" city.
There are currently 10 cities in consideration and one intriguing option is playing in Pittsburgh. The city's mayor even commented on the possibility and has surely been in the loop in order to get Pittsburgh on the list of potential cities.
Pittsburgh is one of seven U.S. cities up for consideration. The remaining three are in Canada. What makes the city a great option is the fact it has moved passed the initial lockdown phase and is now in the "yellow phase" of reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic. This phase has allowed many traditional businesses to reopen with restrictions still in place.
Pittsburgh was not an extremely hard hit area and it may be easier in general to have both hubs in the U.S. as opposed to one here and one in Canada. The goal for Pittsburgh now is to see continued improvement in terms of reopening and not seeing a surge in new cases. Such a surge would eliminate any of the other nine cities as well.
Pittsburgh is also a more central location than some of the others on the list and is also in the Eastern Time Zone, which is perfect for the television broadcasters. The one thing to focus on is the number of confirmed cases. Keeping that low could mean Pittsburgh gets to be a host for what will truly be a unique NHL postseason.