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Sunday, May 24, 2020

NHL News: NHLPA To Continue Talks With NHL Over 24-Team Return To Play Proposal

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Talks that started on Thursday afternoon that lasted until Friday evening (yes, you read that right), between the NHLPA and the NHL over a proposed 24-team playoff tournament, will continue according to both sides.

The NHLPA released the following statement yesterday regarding the talks:

“The Executive Board of the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) has authorized further negotiations with the NHL on a 24-team return to play format to determine the winner of the 2020 Stanley Cup. Several details remain to be negotiated and an agreement on the format would still be subject to the parties reaching agreement on all issues relevant to resuming play.​”

On Thursday, the union held a conference call before balloting began, but managed to get 18 of the 31 votes according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie:

Although McKenzie does feel that an official league announcement can still be days away, regardless if the NHLPA agrees to move forward.

These meetings were in no way to try and resume play from where it left off, but rather give a framework in order to salvage the 2019-20 season and crown a Stanley Cup champ.

There are still many hurdles to jump over, such as the plan for players and staff COVID-19 testing and what should the league do in circumstances of someone testing positive and other health-related things of that nature.

ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski tweeted what the NHL is actually doing to get his ball rolling:

For those wondering what these brackets could look like, here an example:

Western Conference
#5 Edmonton Oilers vs. #12 Chicago Blackhawks, winner to face #4 Dallas Stars
#6 Nashville Predators vs. #11 Arizona Coyotes, winner to face #3 Vegas Golden Knights 
#7 Vancouver Canucks vs. #10 Minnesota Wild, winner to face #2 Colorado Avalanche
#8 Calgary Flames vs. #9 Winnipeg Jets, winner to face #1 St. Louis Blues

Eastern Conference

#5 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. #12 Montreal Canadiens, winner to face #4 Philadelphia Flyers
#6 Carolina Hurricanes vs. #11 New York Rangers, winner to face #3 Washington Capitals
#7 New York Islanders vs. #10 Florida Panthers, winner to face #2 Tampa Bay Lightning
#8 Toronto Maple Leafs vs. #9 Columbus Blue Jackets, winner to face #1 Boston Bruins.


As you can see… no Los Angeles Kings anywhere. Sorry fans, our record of 29-35 did not make the cut for the playoffs. Boo.

Regardless, the passing of the NHLPA votes does not mean that hockey is back, it does not mean negotiations are done. There are too many “fine line” issues that need to be mended before any play can resume. As well as finding a home to where these games can take place.

Cross fingers hockey fans.

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