There are signs that the NHL is on a path to returning this summer. On Friday evening, the NHLPA executive board announced that the association has agreed to the basics of a 24-team return-to-play format, but more details remain to be negotiated by both sides on other issues before a final agreement comes together.
The announcement, tweeted by the NHLPA, says "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."
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
Some key concerns beyond the playoff format were the lack of preparation and jumping right into the postseason right away. Teams with a bye, while they would play in non-elimination games, would be at a competitive disadvantage.
There are also several hurdles that need to be addressed in any return-to-play proposal. This, of course, includes the health and safety of the players and the public-at-large. An adequate amount of practice time is an issue as well.
Still, this constitutes a step toward a return to the ice for the NHL to complete the 2019-20 season. It's a small step, but an important one as the league and players move closer to finishing the season.
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