The Athletic — The NHL-NHLPA Return to Play committee talked throughout the weekend, sources said Sunday, with more talks expected over the next day or two.
While there remains work to be done, and nobody involved is ready to say 100 percent where this is headed, sources confirm progress was made this weekend on a 24-team format for return to play.
I’m told the proposed 24-team format doesn’t go straight to the playoffs but involves games in some form before-hand. That would be something the players would have pushed for.
This idea of restarting the NHL season with essentially the 24 teams in playoff contention has been floated the last week or so, and it sounds like the NHL and NHLPA are headed in that direction. We've heard a lot about Major League Baseball's potential restart, but this sounds like the most definitive talks had yet regarding hockey.
It's encouraging to me that all these leagues seem to at least have frameworks in place for what their respective seasons will look like and it sounds like at least most people involved want the rest of the season and some form of the Stanley Cup Playoffs to happen.
As I've said regarding every major sport, I don't care how y'all get it done, just make it happen. We deserve a 2020 Stanley Cup champion just like we deserve to see another year of prime Ronald Acuña and probably a Milwaukee—Los Angeles NBA Finals. The NHL has a conference call Monday with the Board of Governors — it's had one every two weeks since the season was postponed — so maybe we'll have some more news in 24 hours or so.
While the ongoing negotiations between the MLB players and owners don't seem ideal, I've become increasingly encouraged that seemingly every league is on the same page about wanting to come back. Let's make it happen, everybody.