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Insider Only Best-of-5: Penguins will face Canadiens if NHL resumes play

Great momentum for Vegas as Hub city

There’s many more steps needed for a resumption of the 2019-2020 season, but the National Hockey League has taken an important step in setting up the framework for a return to play this summer after the NHLPA voted 29-2 Friday night in agreeing to the NHL’s 24-team format proposal.

“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,” the union said in a statement.

After two months of exchanging proposals and ideas, the league finally came around to the 24-team format that the players union has seen as the most ideal route for a resumption to play for several weeks.

In fact, the agreed format is something that was also proposed by a large group of NHL General Manager’s in a conference call way back in March that the NHL’s top brass initially threw cold water on, due to the abundance of lost TV revenue, they were headstrong for a while during this process of bringing all 31 teams back to finish some sort of regular season and fulfill contractual obligations teams have with their affiliated tv rights.

The players were always going to win this battle in getting the league to come on board with the 24-team format.

And the agreed setup of a 16-team, best-of-5 play-in series still sets things up for the league to get their desired traditional type playoffs after the play-in series’ are settled.


— If there ends up being a resumption of the season, the Penguins will meet with the Montreal Canadiens for a best-of-5 series.

There is disappointment among the Penguins brass that there isn’t an opportunity to get reseeded for a bye as Pittsburgh sat just four points behind the Capitals and three points behind the Flyers at the time of the shutdown, but from management to the players, most are totally on-board with the current setup.

The Penguins by no means are scared of Carey Price and that is some terrible reporting that’s out there indicating they were.

The players never considered voting “No”, multiple sources say.


—Best case scenarios for the NHL still have training camps not starting until late June, early July, multiple sources on both sides of the aisle say.

As to where the Penguins will begin play if the NHL resumes?

The NHL has soured on having 4 hub cities and are currently focused on returning to play at 2 hub cities, though, there’s a thought in some circles things could still steer the way of going the NBA route and playing the rest of the season at just one location.

There is strong momentum Vegas will be one of the two hub cities. It’s the clear favorite location of the players association to play the season out. The league prefers one U.S. location and one Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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