The National Hockey League Players' Association Executive Board has agreed to a 24-team Return to Play proposal even though there are other important issues and elements to negotiate according to TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun.
To recap: the NHLPA has agreed to the format itself even though there are other important issues and elements to negotiate. The NHL now will go through its own process and I would expect some form of announcement within the next few days.— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) May 23, 2020
LeBrun adds the NHL will now go through its own process and an announcement in some form is expected within the next few days.
Here is the full statement released Friday night:
"The Executive Board of the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) has authorized further negotiations with the NHL on a 24-team return to play format to determine the winner of the 2020 Stanley Cup. 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."
TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie tweeted earlier on Friday that the NHLPA executive committee conference call held Thursday night got "a little heated at times" and various individual players still have a wide variety of views on the NHL's Return to Play proposal, but it was expected to have at least 18 of the possible 31 votes needed to be approved.
While last night’s NHLPA executive committee conference call got a little heated at times, and various individual players still have a wide variety of views on the NHL’s RTP format, the exec committee vote by team is expected to result in NHLPA approval of the NHL plan.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) May 22, 2020
"If voting passes additional details [need] to be negotiated with the NHL," TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger tweeted Thursday night.
The NHL's regular season was paused on March 12 because of the coronavirus pandemic, one day after Rudy Gobert of the NBA’s Utah Jazz tested positive for COVID-19 and began a domino effect that brought the sports world to a halt.