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Wild reports to training camp Monday, looking to set depth on an oversized playoff roster

Sarah McLellan, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on

Published in Hockey

Fans won't be in the stands.

Games will be in one of two centralized locations instead of alternating between NHL teams' home rinks.

And some competitors, like the Wild, will have to pass an entrance exam just to stick around.

But the prize at the end of this unprecedented playoff pursuit, the Stanley Cup, hasn't changed.

"I don't think it'll look the same, clearly," interim coach Dean Evason said. "It can't. But as far as what the players feel, I do believe it'll feel the same and I do believe it'll mean the same."

The Wild will officially reconvene Monday at Tria Rink in St. Paul for training camp after a 123-day lag in the season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Since then, the league and its players not only agreed to a return to play plan but also a collective bargaining extension reflective of the strains put on the NHL by the abrupt shutdown on March 12.

A 24-team postseason tournament will finally bring resolution, even though the circumstances won't be typical.

While top-ranked teams participate in round-robin play to determine seeding, everyone else will square off in a qualifying round to advance to the usual four-round, best-of-seven format.

That's where the No. 10 Wild's journey starts, with a best-of-five showdown against No. 7 Vancouver that begins Aug. 2 in Edmonton, where the team will live in a bubble setup during the ongoing pandemic.

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