The NHL and NHLPA cleared the first major hurdle for the NHL return. Despite our earlier report, the Pittsburgh Penguins voted “yes” on the NHL 24-team proposal. The organization confirmed the vote.
The NHL proposal was debated and multiple sources including TSN reporter Bob McKenzie reported the vote would be close. The NHLPA released a statement late on Friday night which confirmed the proposal passed with yes votes from a majority of the teams.
The 24-team proposal grants byes to the top four teams in each conference and the remaining teams, seeds five through 12, will face off in bracketed five-game play-in series.
The format means the fifth-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins will face the 12th seeded Montreal Canadiens. Get the full series breakdown, here.
Dates and locations have not yet been finalized. The NHLPA also reaffirmed their desire for a commitment to safety for the players.
On Friday night, Pittsburgh Penguins NHLPA rep Kris Letang spoke with Sportsnet reporter Elliotte Friedman.
“At the end of the day, nobody gets exactly what they want,” Letang told Friedman. “But, we all want what is best for hockey and to continue to grow the game.”
There was significant disagreement over several issues, including the format. Letang did concede not every player expressed positive sentiment.
“We have a union for everyone to express our views. Whatever the format is, some agree, some don’t. As a union, we want to make the best decisions over time, the greater good for everyone.”
Here is the full NHLPA release:
“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.”
Pittsburgh Hockey Now retracted a report in which a team source claimed the Penguins voted no on the proposal. We retracted the report and apologize for the error.