The NHLPA announced shortly before 10 PM that its 31 player representatives have approved the NHL’s 24-team playoff, return-to-play format.
The NHLPA stressed in its announcement however that more details and negotiations must happen before the NHL can return such as testing, safety protocols, PPE sourcing, and players’ families.
The statement read:
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.
The top four teams in the Eastern and Western Conference would get a bye from the five-game, play-in series between the five through 12 seeds, though those teams would play three games to determine their seeding. After the play-in round, all series would be a best of seven. Washington, in this plan, would begin as the East’s three seed.
Here’s what the matchups could look like.
As per @FriedgeHNIC and @reporterchris, the NHL and NHLPA are working on various Stanley Cup Playoff scenarios. Here's what a 24-team, conference-based setup with a play-in round could potentially look like.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) May 21, 2020
The NHL will now, according to The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun, go through its own process to get its Board of Governors to approve the format.
To recap: the NHLPA has agreed to the format itself even though there are other important issues and elements to negotiate. The NHL now will go through its own process and I would expect some form of announcement within the next few days.
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) May 23, 2020
ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski reports that two details of the playoff format that will need to be negotiated include reseeding, or not, and if seeding would change or not in the round robin between the top four teams.
Two interesting notes on NHLPA's approval of the 24-team format if 2019-20 season is restarted, via source:
– NHL wants bracketed tournament. Many in NHLPA favor reseeding teams. A point of further negotiation.
– Round robin for top 4 teams in each conf. Seeing *could* change.
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) May 23, 2020
Safety protocols and a hub city plan are among the major hurdles that would still need to be figured out.
Players’ reactions were mixed.
“I will say that when it comes to the format I think it is almost impossible to make everyone happy … the situation is what it is,” Lars Eller said to the Washington Post’s Samantha Pell. “It is far from perfect. We are going to manage the best we can and I do think we will come together and find a solution regarding that. It is not going to be easy.”
Capitals defenseman John Carlson told Mike Tirico on Thursday, “Twenty-four teams sounds like a lot of teams to me. You have to make sure there is some level playing field in terms of intensity…So while 24 teams sounds like a lot, maybe due to logistics, that makes the most sense.”
Meanwhile, Pittsburgh Penguins NHLPA representative Kris Letang voted yes for the playoff format despite some personal objections.
“At the end of the day, nobody gets exactly what they want,” Letang said to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. “But, we all want what is best for hockey and to continue to grow the game.”
The 2019-20 season has been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic since March 12.
The NHLPA Executive Board has authorized further negotiations with the NHL on a 24-team return to play format, subject to reaching an overall agreement with the League on resuming the 2019-20 season: https://t.co/SIzQYyooEE pic.twitter.com/9TftmApiGJ
— NHLPA (@NHLPA) May 23, 2020
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.