NHLPA approves plan for a 24-team tournament to restart the NHL season

Blackhawks

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – MARCH 11: Fans watch as the Chicago Blackhawks take on the San Jose Sharks at the United Center on March 11, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

NEW YORK – Getting back to playing again during pandemic is a process, but at least the National Hockey League was able to take another big step on Friday evening.

That’s because the players have decided to continue on with the latest proposal to start the season.

The National Hockey League Player’s Association announced that their executive board has decided to move forward with the league’s plans to restart the season with a 24-team tournament to be conducted at neutral sites.

“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,” said the NHLPA in a statement released Friday. “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.​”

To continue on with the proposal, the NHLPA needed 18 of the 31 team representatives to vote yes. It’s unknown what the split of the vote was as of Friday night.

This only continues the process of negotiations between the sides to get things going again in the 2019-2020 campaign, with no set timetable or sites for the games yet known. The league has been suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic since March 12th.

In this proposal, the Top 4 seeds in each conference would play games for seeding while the rest square off in five-game series to set the field. The remaining 16 teams would then play seven-game series to determine 2020’s Stanley Cup champion.

In this scenario, the Blackhawks would make the playoffs as the 12th seed, and would face the fifth-seeded Oilers in the best-of-five playoff.

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