National Hockey League agrees on 24-team playoff for coronavirus return, issues remain

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The National Hockey League's union brass are expected to give the green light to a 24-team playoff format that would crown the Stanley Cup champion, TSN.ca reported on Friday night.

The NHL on Friday took its biggest step yet toward returning to play when the NHL Players' Association signed off on a plan for a 24-team playoff format.

"Several details remain to be negotiated and an agreement on the format still would be subject to the parties reaching agreement on all issues relevant to resuming play".

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The NHLPA held a conference call Thursday night ahead of a vote to accept or reject the NHL's proposed return-to-play format featuring a 24-team tournament in which the clubs with the top four records in each conference would receive byes into the first round while the teams seeded fifth through 12th would meet in a best-of-five play-in series.

One of the issues that remains open for discussion is whether a playoff bracket will be used or whether the teams would reseed, according to Sportsnet's Chris Johnston. The NHL has reportedly told teams to prepare for games in July, and are reportedly willing to delay the start of the 2020-21 season to December, but at a certain point, the players are going to want to know how they need to prepare.

Who knew that a pandemic was all it'd take for the National Hockey League and NHLPA, the undeniable top rivals in the world of professional sport CBAs, to find some sort of labor peace?

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The top four seeds in the Eastern Conference would be the Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers. Earlier this week, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said the league was looking at eight or nine cities to be hubs for games, and choosing two or four.

All remaining series would be best-of-seven. Major issues such as testing and safety measures would be addressed by the Return to Play committee.

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