Good morning hockey fans! Last night, the National Hockey League Players Association executive board announced that they have authorized further negotiations with the National Hockey League on a twenty-four team return to play format. As everyone knows, the current 2019-20 season has been put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is format is still subject to reaching an overall agreement with the NHL. Here is the NHLPA’s official statement:
First of all, contrary to what some other sites have reported, this is not an official agreement and nothing has been set in stone between the NHL and NHLPA. All that was agreed-upon were two things. One, there is a resume to play format they are working towards but need to hammer out further details. Secondly, they agreed to keep talking and work on the process as a whole as there is much more at stake than what type of playoff format to use as Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston tweets about to clarify what this all means:
Johnston’s tweets tells you that this is not an official agreement and there’s still more to figure out. We are still not close to resuming the NHL season. There are still many factors and considerations to work out beyond just a playoff format. Trust me, I want the NHL to return as much as anyone. Like you, I am dying to watch hockey and cheer on my favorite team. I also want to see the Stanley Cup awarded. However, there are still so much left to discuss and figure out. The health and lives of the players, their families, coaches, and anyone who works for a team are at stake here. Everything needs to be handled correctly and delicately without rushing into something that puts people’s lives in danger. This is a good start and sign that hopefully hockey can return but, we have to let the process play out and hopefully it’s safe to resume the NHL season and award the Stanley Cup. It’s absolutely OK to have hope and be positive about this, but we have more distance left to travel on this road to resuming the NHL season, and we need to be realistic and understand that it is still a big IF right now in regards to any of this actually happening.