DATES FI­NAL­IZED FOR BEST-OF-5 VS. OIL­ERS, DRAFT

Chicago Sun-Times - - BULLS BEAT - BY BEN POPE BPOPE@SUN­TIMES.COM @BENPOPECST

The Black­hawks-Oil­ers se­ries is of­fi­cially on.

The best-of-five qual­i­fy­ing-round se­ries will be­gin Aug. 1 in Ed­mon­ton and could con­clude Aug. 8, when Game 5 is sched­uled.

The NHL and the play­ers as­so­ci­a­tion ap­proved the restart plan Fri­day, as well as the ex­ten­sion to the col­lec­tive-bar­gain­ing agree­ment, which was agreed upon this week.

The first round (af­ter the qual­i­fy­ing round) will be­gin Aug. 11; the sec­ond round will start Aug. 25; the con­fer­ence fi­nals will be­gin Sept. 8; and the Stan­ley Cup Fi­nal will start Sept. 22.

Mean­while, the sec­ond draft lot­tery — to de­ter­mine who will have the No. 1 over­all pick — will take place

Aug. 10, right af­ter the end of the qual­i­fy­ing round. The draft will take place Oct. 9-10.

The Hawks will be­gin train­ing camp Mon­day at Fifth

Third Arena and travel to Ed­mon­ton — now of­fi­cially the Western Con­fer­ence’s hub city — July 26.

The NHL plans to in­crease the play­off sched­ule with stag­gered start times in Toronto and Ed­mon­ton and play five or six games ev­ery day. The Hawks-Oil­ers se­ries is one of five se­ries that will be­gin the qual­i­fy­ing round Aug. 1. A round robin be­tween each of the con­fer­ence’s top four seeds will be­gin the next day, in­ter­mixed in the qual­i­fy­ing-round sched­ule.

The league also an­nounced that in­di­vid­ual sta­tis­tics from the qual­i­fy­ing-round games will count as play­off stats.

“This agree­ment is a mean­ing­ful step for­ward for the play­ers and own­ers, and for our game, in a dif­fi­cult and un­cer­tain time,” NHLPA direc­tor Don­ald Fehr said in a state­ment. “Most im­por­tantly, we are pleased to be able to bring NHL hockey back to the fans.” ✶

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