The rest of the National Hockey League and their fans may be awaiting the NHLPA’s answer on the 24-team format, some players appear to have already made up their mind on what needs to be done next: going home.
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.
If the vote passes, that would mean that teams like the Ottawa Senators, Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils, Detroit Red Wings, San Jose Sharks, Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks would be totally done for the 2019-20 season.
As a matter of fact, David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period reports that players from those aforementioned teams, who haven’t left their respective NHL cities during the pause, are starting to make arrangements to return to their off-season homes.
While it may be unfortunate for those players, it sure sounds like things are coming together for fans and the rest of the league.