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Statement From The NHLPA

TORONTO (May 22, 2020) – 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.

added 10:06pm,


added 10:12pm,


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The Latest On The NHLPA Vote


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Early Morning Line- Bob McKenzie

via Bob McKenzie tweets,

It’s my understanding NHLPA conference call tonight was spirited if not raucous. While exec committee voting won’t be finalized until Friday, some believe Don Fehr may already have or will get the mandate to accept NHL RTP plan but not overwhelmingly so.

Which is to suggest that even if there are enough votes to pass, it may still be a tough call. Emotional issue, as one might expect. We should have more clarity in the next 24 hours.

added 9:58am, via Michael Russo tweet,

Further to the Godfather's thread, I'm also told by multiple guys that there were a # of unhappy players on last night's call. Emotional issue based on a number of factors: Testing, safety, leaving families, pay and the belief this should be a full player vote, not Exec Board

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Late Night Thoughts

from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet,

- My guess is we don’t see training camps before July. In addition to the playoff format, it sounds like the NHL and NHLPA are working together on adjusting the critical-dates calendar. That means contracts for players will be extended from June 30 (the normal end of each season) to whenever this year officially concludes.

The interesting thing will be contracts for coaches/executives scheduled to expire on that date. There will be the option to extend those, too, but there might be situations where a team and/or an individual would not wish to extend. Vancouver and amateur scouting director Judd Brackett would be an obvious one. There is at least one coach not extended past this season who has mused about declining to return.

- On his Twitter feed, John Shannon reported the following: “The NHL and teams have done social distancing models for people in seats. Most arenas, based on people being six feet apart in every direction, would only be able to host 2,000-2,500 fans at a game.”

To add to that, another team indicated it modelled with families of four, who social-distanced together at home, and would then be allowed to be together at a game. They got up to 4,000.

- The same team indicated they were told that you’d need a one-mile lineup to get every 900 fans into the building. And, again, imagine getting everyone out post-game. The details are unbelievable.

- This is a long way down the line, but if the 2020-21 season does go from December/January to July — I wonder how many teams are going to ask their fans if they want that schedule to be permanent.


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Player Reps Voting Tonight

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Video- Brian Burke On The Talked About Playoff Format

via a tweet from Sportsnet,

"I think this is too many teams, I think it's gonna almost guarantee we have an issue with this virus. But if they can pull this off, fantastic."

Plus more topics.


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The Latest On The NHL Getting Back On The Ice

from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,

The one thing that stands out about the NHL return-to-play format currently being discussed is it doesn’t include a meaningless game.

That’s because the top-four teams in each conference will still be jockeying for seeding even while receiving a “bye” directly into the playoffs. The proposed format would see Boston, Tampa, Washington and Philadelphia play each other in the East while St. Louis, Colorado, Vegas and Dallas do so in the West, with the outcomes helping determine how those teams are seeded No. 1 through No. 4 to start the first round.

It also ensures those NHL heavyweights are given something to play for while the other 16 teams contest best-of five play-in series to determine their playoff opponents.

Now, before we go any further, it’s important to stress that this format hasn’t yet been finalized or approved. The NHLPA’s Executive Board will discuss the proposed framework during a call on Thursday night and ultimately has to sign off on any plan put into action. And of course nothing happens without the league’s blessing, too.

However, both sides are represented on the Return To Play Committee that has been hammering away at what the NHL should look like if it’s able to finish the season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

They’ve ended up on a 24-team, two-conference format that could produce great theatre while still requiring the eventual Stanley Cup champion to win at least 16 playoff games.


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TSN Insiders Today

Hockey Insiders Pierre LeBrun, Darren Dreger and Bob McKenzie discuss the proposed 24-team return for the NHL, the subsequent playoff matchups and the next steps for the league.

Watch at TSN.

added 7:14pm, another option, watch it below.

Continue Reading »

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Eric Staal On A Restart

from John Shipley of the PioneerPress,

No one wants to continue playing hockey this season more than Eric Staal; he just has a hard time imagining it.

“The whole thing is still difficult for me to kind of fathom and understand,” the Wild center said Thursday.

The Wild center was nearing the end of his 17th NHL regular season when the 2019-20 campaign was put on hold March 12, and he has seen a lot, returning from two lockouts and leading a relatively new team from North Carolina to a Stanley Cup in 2006. But from the restart plans he has seen floated in media reports — empty arenas, hub cities — he has his doubts about playing again this summer.

“That momentum and those moments of memory are with fans and with people and with excitement,” Staal told reporters on a video conference. “To go through the playoff run with nobody in the building is going to be really weird and different. To me, it’s hard to kind of wrap your head around it.

“Obviously, if that’s the route we go, and it goes, you just figure it out and you do it. I don’t love it personally, but there’s lots of things in life you kind of deal with as you go.”


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Waiting On The NHLPA

from Pierre Lebrun of The Athletic,

The NHL is awaiting word from the NHL Players’ Association on the latest version of a return to play format, sources said on Thursday.

The NHLPA’s Executive Board had a call scheduled for 7 p.m. ET on Thursday to discuss the 24-team format. Will that call lead to an actual vote on Thursday night? Or, will the 31 player reps on the board ask for more time to discuss the proposal further with their respective teammates? Or possibly still, will the board instruct the players on the Return to Play Committee to go back to the league with more format tweaks? According to sources, all three are a legitimate possibility.

An executive board vote could also be held during the weekend unless the board felt the proposal required a full league-wide players vote, which would take more time.

read on ($$$)

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com


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