So the NHLPA went ahead and voted on the NHL’s proposal for a 24 team playoff where the top 4 teams in the playoffs do not immediately play, and the rest have a Best-of-5 play-in.
The expectation is that they were gonna say yes, and lo and behold...
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
Vast majority of the NHLPA executive board members (29-2) agreed on the return to play format. Now you have to expect the league will make an announcement on the format sometime next week.— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) May 23, 2020
So for right now? Seems like everybody (except two teams) are going to start getting us ready to come back to hockey.
...so what’s next?
There’s still a lot to consider. They’ve only agreed to the framework as it stands, but the NHL still has to decide on a lot of things:
- Many of the players apparently want the playoffs to be re-seeded every round. I agree with this vehemently! The NHL wants bracketing, on the other hand. I don’t agree with that. This will probably be a major part of negotiations.
- The proposed “top seed round robin” idea is still up for grabs.
- Where the actual play-in tournaments and playoffs are going to be held (current leaders are Vegas and A City In Canada, apparently).
- How to logistically set every team plus training staff and any other essential stadium personnel up in a bunch of separate (but close to the arena) Marriotts so they don’t end up catching the Coronavirus.
- Setting up testing so we know beforehand if half a team already has the Coronavirus.
- Properly piss off at least one team who’s in, and several who aren’t. (Okay, that one’s not true but it feels true.)
- Among a host of other things.
So...don’t expect hockey to be back right away. It could take weeks for this to be figured out, and it could bring a lot of arguing about, quite frankly, nonsense, and it all could come to a speedy halt if even one player tests positive. So the NHL better get this right.
But for now, the road is set. We’ll just have to see where this goes. Let’s get excited for Bruins hockey again!