The executive board of the NHL Players’ Association voted to play a playoff with 24 teams as a return format, according to a person familiar with the situation.
The person spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Thursday night, because the vote is still ongoing. The results of the vote can take place immediately after Friday night.
Even if the executive board voted to approve the form, it has not yet sealed a deal to resume the NHL season. The league union and the players have yet to agree on other details, including safety and health protocols.
But the format is an essential piece of the puzzle to get back to the game.
According to the plan proposed by the joint NHL / NHLPA return to play committee, the four best teams in each of the Eastern and Western conferences will play for each other, while the other 1
That would mean a bye for Boston, Tampa Bay, Washington and Philadelphia in the East and defending champions St. Louis, Colorado, Vegas and Dallas in the West. Pittsburgh, Carolina, New York Islanders and Rangers, Toronto, Columbus, Florida and Montreal would do the same in East and Edmonton, Nashville, Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Minnesota, Arizona and Chicago in the west.
“I feel that if you do something with 24 teams, it basically gives a chance to the team that didn’t have a chance to do it, and if you play at 82, maybe a 6.8% chance that the team is in 12th place ( at the conference) does so, “said Carolina player Jordan Martinuc’s spokesman on Wednesday, more than 24 hours before the executive board meeting. “No one has ever seen this before, but at the end of the day, the Stanley Cup playoffs are 16 teams, seven games in a row.”
This format would lead to the traditional four rounds of seven game series.
“I don’t think there will be a perfect scenario where everyone is very excited,” Ryan Johansen of Nashville said earlier Thursday. “As long as everyone can agree and be happy with the decision that will be made, that’s really all that matters.”
If the NHLPA executive board and the league board approve the plan, who will return will be determined. Where, when and how remains to be determined, including in how many cities the games, quarantine regulations and tests will take place.
“Nothing is really certain until it is certain, so things can change so quickly and have different things,” Play commission member James van Riemsdick of Flyers said on Wednesday. “We try to keep as many options as possible and move through different things, and we hope to come up with a vision that obviously puts everyone’s health and safety first.”
Commissioner Gary Batman said the league was looking for eight or nine seats to serve as cities to resume the season.
It is unclear when the league and players will agree to begin the second phase of return preparations, which will be the resumption of team training and volunteer training. The next step will probably be a three-week training camp before the resumption of games.
“Obviously, it’s important to look at all the different problems that exist so that we can finally try to find a safe way to do things here,” van Riemsdick said. “There were different conversations and things like that, talking about a bunch of different things and trying to sort out some different issues.”
AP sports writer Teresa M. Walker in Nashville, Tennessee, contributed to this report.
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