The National Hockey League Players’ Association Executive Board has authorized further negotiations with the NHL on a potential 24-team Return to Play proposal, the Players’ Association announced Friday night.
It was first reported by Pittsburgh Hockey Now the Penguins, that the Pittsburgh Penguins through representative Kris Letang, voted a hard NO on the proposal put before the NHLPA on Friday evening.
However, Letang let Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman know that he voted in favour of the proposal.
“At the end of the day, nobody gets exactly what they want,” Letang said Friday night. “But, we all want what is best for hockey and to continue to grow the game.”
Letang agreed that some players shared strong opinions on Thursday’s conference call, “but 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.”
As you know now, reports show that the breakdown of the Return to Play committee format would be the following: Twenty-four teams would get in, 12 from each conference. The top-4 teams in each conference – according to the standing when the shutdown occurred on March 12 – would get a bye through the play-in round. The next eight would meet in a best-of-five series. Those top four teams would play each other in a three-game round robin. While that round-robin is taking place, the remaining eight teams would square off in best-of-five, play-in series. Series would be best-of-seven after that. The NHLPA is currently voting on the format, and the process should be done tonight.
That means that the Penguins would face star goalie Carey Price and the Montreal Canadiens in this new opening round and Sidney Crosby’s club and management aren’t happy about this.
But it did not prevent them from voting yes, according to Letang.