The NHL Players’ Association has announced their executive committee has voted in favour of pursuing a 24-team playoff format to complete the 2019-20 NHL season. The final vote was not quite unanimous, but pretty close.

That’s a bit out of line with the second-hand media reports of the conference call Thursday describing it is as long and “raucous.” I wouldn’t be surprised if there were more dissenters but they wound up voting in favour of the proposal in the name of “solidarity,” but only once it became obvious they didn’t have enough votes to stop it from being passed.

The bottom line is negotiations for a 24-team playoff with the League was adopted and, yes, all this has led up to are “negotiations.” Remember that while the broad strokes of how this playoff format will work are set, some details surrounding the play-in tournament, and the seeding for the top four teams is still up in the air.

Further, they are essentially drafting a mini-CBA for this event, and we all know that process can get bogged down in the very fine details of everything from how frequently teams can have mandatory practices, to the number and variety of pasta sauces available at the pre-game meal buffet (in hockey player speak, this means there must be a “red sauce” and a “white sauce”).

In any case, there are many days, probably weeks ahead before those items are even on anyone’s agenda to sort out. No one is sure yet where they will even play. Oh, and, there’s that whole virus protocol thing to work out. Piece of cake, right? I half expect the NHL owners to come out with a counter-proposal for a 20-team playoff format, simply because they like pulling a fast one on the players from time to time to remind them who is the boss.

It’s a long weekend in the US, Memorial Day, so expect no immediate response to the player’s vote from the League.

We’ll go back to waiting, like the players on those seven NHL teams that now know they won’t be invited to the party, wherever it is, whenever it is.

Other News

There are two prospects drafted by the Maple Leafs on that list: Riley Stotts and Zachary Bouthillier. I don’t think they should be waiting beside the phone. If the Kyle Dubas hasn’t gotten around to signing them to a contract in the past two years, it’s not going to suddenly happen in the next ten days.

TSN’s investigative reporter Rick Westhead has been covering racism in hockey following Akim Aliu’s story in the Players Tribune, and has new work out about the situation in minor hockey including an interview with Evanader Kane and North York Rangers AAA U18 forward Myles Douglas.

How excited are you about the 24-team playoff format?

It’s fine just this once. Let’s get it over with.88
I want this every season.9
They should have had 16 teams with the seeding set by the last available standings.83
If the Leafs beat the Bruins I won’t care about how the playoffs work at all.146