National Hockey League players approve format for return; Panthers would qualify for playoffs

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"The Executive Board of the National Hockey League Players' Association has authorized further negotiations with the NHL on a 24-team return to play format to determine the victor of the 2020 Stanley Cup", the NHLPA said in a statement released shortly after their vote.

The NHL and NHLPA took their first steps towards a return to the ice this summer on Friday night, as the NHLPA voted to move ahead with a 24-team playoff format for the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Canadian sports broadcaster said the conference-based proposal is expected to get at least 18 of the possible 31 votes needed for it to pass. Despite the passion, which made the call heated at times according to McKenzie, the vote was almost unanimous to move ahead with the format, resulting in a 29-2 vote.

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?

The NHLPA began voting on the plan Thursday.

There is no timetable attached to a contemplated 2019-20 restart, though the consensus is that training camps likely wouldn't open until late June or early July.

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Traditionalists scoffed at the idea of the Stanley Cup Playoff field expanding beyond the regular allotment of 16 clubs, while a majority of players balked at the possibility of having to spend months away from families in a mandated quarantine.

The Penguins, for instance, were in third place in the Metro Division, three points behind the Flyers and four points behind the Capitals, all three with 13 games remaining.

The format would exclude the bottom seven teams in the season played thus far from the playoffs.

As for the other issues, these are things that the two sides will continue to discuss as they have already for the past few weeks.

According to the report, details of player safety remain unsettled.

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