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Confirmed, we have HOCKEY! Players approve 24-team NHL return

It was heated, and there was significant disagreement with the proposal, which centered on a 24-team NHL playoff format for the Stanley Cup. In the end, the NHLPA approved the plan drawn up by the NHL’s return to the gaming committee on Friday night, and hockey fans around the world will see a team lift the 2020 Stanley Cup via TV.

Near 6pm, a source of first-hand knowledge told Jimmy Murphy of Boston Hockey Now that the vote was over and the players approved the format. Murphy also confirmed that the vote was close.

Jimmy got a few clicks for his work in recent weeks.

There are still a lot of details to be worked out, and some agree with the NHL̵

7;s safety measures, but the players approved the proposal, and we are a go for hockey.

The NHLPA also made sure to express its concern over safety measures to the NHL as part of the testing.

Bob McKenzie of TSN first reported that the proposal was expected to go ahead. He tweeted the news near 5:30.

The vote ended Friday night, and it was not unanimous. PA has not yet officially announced the action, but the word began to leak the vote was completed and approval was expected.

Further details such as hub cities and timelines for NHL return still need to be worked out.

Some players were significantly worried about leaving family and loved ones for months to get a quarantine for the NHL’s return. There was also complain about non-playoff teams such as Chicago and Montreal with an equally large shot at the Stanley Cup as well as teams that otherwise received a playoff spot in the regular season.

The 24-team field will feature major hockey fan bases and media markets, including New York, Montreal and Chicago. It was unlikely to be a team, but the New York Islanders would have made the playoffs if not for the format expansion.

In the end, extraordinary circumstances produced extraordinary results, which we may never see again.

The NHL didn’t even have 24 teams until 1993. Not since the Stanley Cup was an open tournament in 1914 have there been so many teams with a chance to win. And not since the Stanley Cup Final in 1918, where the Spanish flu epidemic infected several players, have we seen a virus wreak such havoc on professional sports, including the Stanley Cup.

We have hockey. Let the chaos follow.

The NHL playoff tournament will provide the best two teams in each division. The rest of the NHL playoffs will be a five-game bracket tournament. The seeds will be based on winning percentage. While the play-in series occurs, the best teams in each division will play warm-up games. Sportsnet reported on Tuesday that these games would count and points would be awarded, which could affect Round One seed, but that has not yet been publicly confirmed.

The Pittsburgh Penguins begin their Cup assignment with a play-in series against the Montreal Canadiens, who have at least points (71) by any team in the 24-team field. Montreal was 10 points out of the wild-card race when the NHL paused the season on March 12.

PHN canceled the upcoming short series Penguins vs. Montreal.

Pittsburgh Hockey Now, with its sister sites, will have as much coverage of the evolving events and upcoming NHL playoffs as the league allows. Join Dan Kingerski on 93-7 Fan Friday night as a guest on Paul Zeise.

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