National Hockey League players approve 24-team playoff proposal, but many other hurdles remain

Ross Houston
May 25, 2020

The NHL and the NHL Player Association reached an agreement Friday night to move forward on a plan to resume the season, starting with a 24-team playoff.

The NHL Board of Governors approved the 24-team format earlier in the week but there have been few details about the format or the location for the games, which will be played in empty arenas to be determined later. From there, traditional best-of-seven series would follow through the Stanley Cup Final.

The 31-year-old, who helped the Penguins win back-to-back titles in 2016 and 2017, is in favor of the reported wrinkle in the potential format that would pit the top four teams in each conference against each other in a round-robin tournament to determine their seeding before they face the winners of best-of-five series involving the other 16 clubs. "Nobody's ever seen this before, but at the end of the day, the Stanley Cup Playoffs are 16 teams, seven games a series". The NHL's proposal called for scrapping the rest of the regular season and starting postseason play with 24 teams grouped in two "hub" cities.

That would mean byes for Boston, Tampa Bay, Washington and Philadelphia in the East and defending champion St. Louis, Colorado, Vegas and Dallas in West. Pittsburgh, Carolina the New York Islanders and Rangers, Toronto, Columbus, Florida and Montreal would also make it in the East and Edmonton, Nashville, Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Minnesota, Arizona and Chicago in the West.

Bettman said that access to tests will remain a key issue in resuming the National Hockey League season. A two-hub system would have 12 teams at each city, while a four-hub plan would have six squads at each site.

The league has been shuttered since March 12 when the coronavirus pandemic led to all major North American sports leagues suspending play to avoid creating an environment where the disease was likely to spread.

According to the report, details of player safety remain unsettled. No. 10 Florida, and No. 6 Carolina vs.

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