Coronavirus: NHLPA executive board approves NHL's proposed return to play format

By Sports Desk May 22, 2020

The executive board of the National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA) has approved further negotiations with the NHL on a proposed 24-team playoff tournament amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2019-20 NHL campaign was suspended on March 12 and it remains to be seen when, and if, the season will restart due to the COVID-19 crisis.

However, in a proposal to help restart the season, the top four teams in each conference – based on points percentage – would receive a first-round bye but would play a three-game round-robin tournament to avoid a detrimental layoff. 

The teams seeded five through 12 would participate in a play-in tournament featuring a best-of-five format to determine who advances to face the top four seeds. 

"The Executive Board of the National Hockey League Players' Association has authorised further negotiations with the NHL on a 24-team return to play format to determine the winner of the 2020 Stanley Cup," a statement from the NHLPA said.

"Several details remain to be negotiated and an agreement on the format would still be subject to the parties reaching an agreement on all issues relevant to resuming play."

While this approval provides parameters for the potential return of hockey, there are many critical elements that still need to be settled, including testing protocols, visas and where the games will take place. 

Related items

  • Coronavirus: Serie A to allow five substitutions Coronavirus: Serie A to allow five substitutions

    Serie A will allow teams to make five substitutions during games for the remainder of the 2019-20 campaign.

    It brings Italy's top flight into line with a temporary law amendment announced by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) last month.

    World football's pre-eminent rule-making body made the alterations as a means to ease the strain on players returning to action following the extended coronavirus hiatus.

    If a team wishes to make all five changes, they must come in no more than three match interruptions, aside from half-time.

    Serie A is set to resume on June 20, more than three months after the league was suspended due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

  • Coronavirus: New Australia coach Rennie to take 30 per cent pay cut Coronavirus: New Australia coach Rennie to take 30 per cent pay cut

    New Australia coach Dave Rennie has volunteered to take a 30 per cent pay cut ahead of starting his job with the Wallabies next month.

    Rugby Australia (RA) reported a provisional deficit of 9.4 million Australian dollars for 2019 back in March, and the impact of the coronavirus has further impacted their finances.

    All July internationals have already been scrapped because of the ongoing pandemic and both Australia players and RA staff members have had to take significant pay cuts while the sport is on hold.

    Rennie has now followed suit with a pay cut that will last until the end of September, in line with the rest of RA's executive team.

    The 56-year-old's appointment as Australia's new coach was confirmed back in November 2019 shortly after the Rugby World Cup concluded.

    It is hoped he could be in charge for the first time in October, when international fixtures are set to return.

  • Coronavirus: Bayern star Martinez warns injury risk has shot up Coronavirus: Bayern star Martinez warns injury risk has shot up

    Bayern Munich star Javi Martinez has sounded a warning that players risk injury more than ever because of the coronavirus interruption to the season.

    Leagues across much of Europe have resumed or are on the point of doing so after a long suspension caused by the pandemic.

    Players have for the large part been hunkered down at home since March, unable to take part in full training sessions until recent weeks and missing the routine of matches.

    That concerns Spanish midfielder Martinez, who believes footballers have become increasingly vulnerable to getting hurt.

    Barcelona captain Lionel Messi and Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic are among the big-name players who have suffered recent injury setbacks.

    "I am a player who needs match rhythm. The dynamics of playing every few days is not ideal. We don't have a run of training sessions to reach peak form," Martinez told Marca.

    "It's easier now to get injuries because we've stopped for longer than ever before and we haven't had a normal pre-season.

    "I'm doing quite well and if the coach wants me I believe I'll be ready.

    "And the hot weather's coming. Tell me how you can play in Seville on July 6 or 7."

    That aspect will not directly affect Martinez but shows his sympathy for the LaLiga stars who could face difficult playing conditions during the Spanish summer.

    Martinez is poised to win another Bundesliga title with Bayern, with his arrival in 2012 from Athletic Bilbao having coincided with the start of a period of startling dominance.

    An eighth straight title is almost within Bayern's grasp, given their seven-point lead over Borussia Dortmund with five games to go, but Martinez is struggling to enjoy putting the finishing touches to a successful campaign behind closed doors.

    And when Bayern went to Dortmund for a crucial game in the Bundesliga last week, Martinez was taken aback by the near-total absence of anyone in and around the stadium.

    That is the necessity given concerns about the spread of COVID-19, but Martinez said: "I don't like it. I am very passionate. I need to be yelled at, even if it's to tell me everything. To go to the pitches of Betis or the Bernabeu and have a thousand people telling you about everything. That motivates me.

    "My soul fell to my feet when I arrived at Dortmund and saw five people there with their bikes. But I understand that it was necessary to continue."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.