There’s been a lot of talk about what the NHL’s return might look like. And, in truth, there is still much we don’t (and can’t) know.
What we do know, or at least will know, is that today will bring some actual, concrete information.
#NHL commissioner Gary Bettman expected to formally unveil the league's 24-team return to play format this afternoon at 4:30pm, followed by a media availability at 6pm.— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) May 26, 2020
From the NHL: ``National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman will make an announcement today at 4:30 p.m. ET regarding the Return to Play Plan for the 2019-20 NHL season.''— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) May 26, 2020
So this is to announce the 24-team format agreement the NHL/NHLPA have signed off on.
This comes on the heels of last week’s announcement that the NHLPA had agreed in principle to the 24-team playoff-that-isn’t-a-playoff format.
It is also expected that the NHL will be releasing its plan for the draft as well, per Bob McKenzie and others. However, there is merit in taking care not to get too excited just yet.
One thing that needs to be remembered before today’s announcement: this isn’t an announcement of a return to play, it’s just an announcement of a plan that they would use *if* the season resumes.— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) May 26, 2020
Yes, this is probably something like what a return could look like. Yes, the Dallas Stars would probably have some kind of a first-round bye for the play-in phase if they stick with this plan.
Breaking News!— All Sports Talk Show (@AllSportTalk) May 23, 2020
The NHL players have approved NHL’s 24 team return to play proposal. There are still a lot of things to be worked out such as the location of games and the target date. Hear our opinions on the next edition of the All Sports Talk Show. Below is the playoff format. pic.twitter.com/B9c2NP0EEu
And yes: never fear, Edmontonians! You can still win the draft lottery this year despite being second in your division when play was stopped in March:
The draft lottery for the 2020 NHL draft will include the seven teams that didn't qualify for the 24-team playoff tournament + the eight teams eliminated in the qualifying round.— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) May 26, 2020
As a reminder, even if this announcement is something like a confirmation of what we’ve been hearing for some time, it doesn’t mean we’re on the doorstep of real games. Heck, we haven’t even seen players begin skating yet, let alone practicing.
But each step in the process matters, and while folks certainly have mixed feelings about the prudence behind pushing the league’s return amid *gestures arms wildly* all this, clarity is clarity, and this will be something like that.
So, what do you think? Is this format, if ratified in some fashion, good for the team? The league? Or is this a traveshamockery of hockey as we know it?
If nothing else, tonight will bring actual news and confirmation to get mad about. So in that sense, it does feel just like old times again, if in no other sense just yet.