Oilers’ Connor McDavid does not believe hub city host would have ‘major advantage’

Two days after the NHL revealed its return-to-play plan, Edmonton Oilers star forward Connor McDavid and defenceman Darnell Nurse were already looking ahead to potentially playing in the 24-team Stanley Cup format.

On the prospects of Edmonton becoming one of two hub cities, McDavid said he’s not expecting any kind of edge.

“It would probably not be a major advantage,” McDavid said to reporters during a media conference. “It’s going to feel weird in that building no matter where you play. No matter if you’ve played there a hundred times, it doesn’t matter if you’ve never played there.

“The building is going to feel weird with no fans being in there and what not, so I would say probably not. That’s just my opinion.”

WATCH | McDavid, Nurse discuss polarizing return-to-play format:

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid, who was part of the NHL/NHLPA’s Return to Play Committee, and his teammate Darnell Nurse discuss the creation of the NHL’s 24-team playoff plan. 1:57

Nurse, meanwhile won’t be fazed by playing in front of empty seats.

On Tuesday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced the league and NHLPA agreed to a return-to-play format, which concludes the remainder of the regular season and begins a 24-team playoff plan.

The new plan would see the top-4 clubs in the Eastern and Western Conference play two abbreviated round-robin tournaments to determine playoff seeding.

The other eight teams in each conference would play a best-of-five ‘play-in’ series — No. 5 versus No. 12, No. 6 versus No. 11, No. 7 versus No. 10, and No. 8 versus No. 9 — to determine the 16 clubs left standing for the playoffs.

WATCH | 2-minute recap of Bettman’s press conference:

Commissioner Bettman outlined the NHL’s 24-team playoff format, and the draft lottery. 2:11
The league hopes to have players at team facilities early next month under strict health and safety guidelines, hold training camps sometime after July 1 and begin playing games later that month or early August.

In the West, the best-of-five matchups would include Edmonton versus Chicago, Nashville versus Arizona, Vancouver versus Minnesota, and Calgary versus Winnipeg.

The East’s best-of-five play-ins would see Pittsburgh versus Montreal, Carolina versus the New York Rangers, the New York Islanders versus Florida, and Toronto versus Columbus.

WATCH | Nurse remains motivated by opportunity to win Stanley Cup:

Edmonton Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse says even though they will be competing in an empty arena, the opportunity to win a Stanley Cup should be enough to motivate players. 1:08

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