The NHL and NHLPA approved a 24-team playoff format last week, and they're now reportedly making even more progress on a return to action.
According to TSN's Pierre LeBrun, the league is targeting early June for the opening of practice facilities and small group workouts.
NHL/NHLPA sent out 29-page Phase 2 protocol (opening of practice facilities/small group workouts) to teams and players late last night. Will be released publicly today as well.— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) May 25, 2020
``Based on the current information available, we are now targeting a date in early June for a transition to Phase 2.'' - NHL memo reads (again, for small group workouts)— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) May 25, 2020
While this is great news for a potential resumption of the season, LeBrun adds that the memo states Phase 2 has no official start or end date. On top of that, the memo reportedly emphasizes that player participation in workouts is voluntary and no more than six players can be in a practice facility at once.
Memo: ``However, it has not yet been determined when precisely Phase 2 will start or how long it may last. We are continuing to monitor developments in each of the Club’s markets, and may adjust the overall timing if appropriate, following discussion with all relevant parties.''— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) May 25, 2020
More from NHL memo: ``We again emphasize that Player participation in Phase 2 is strictly voluntary. In addition, Clubs are not permitted to require Players to return to the Club’s home city so they can complete a quarantine requirement in time to participate in Phase 2.''— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) May 25, 2020
The NHL/NHLPA Phase 2 agreement stipulates 6 players max in a practice facility at once; the on-ice sessions with players only, no coaches or other personnel allowed on the ice— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) May 25, 2020
From NHL/NHLPA Phase 2 memo, regarding players: ``Face coverings (cloth or surgical-type mask) shall be worn at all times – other than while exercising -- when entering or leaving the Club facility and while inside the Club facility where social distancing cannot be maintained.''— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) May 25, 2020
The NHL, like many leagues across the United States, has a long way to go before games officially get underway again.
In Major League Baseball, the New York Mets and Yankees announced they'd be returning to their spring training facilities at some point in the near future for workouts, and the NBA is making progress towards a season resumption at Walt Disney World.
While the NHL is set to partake in a 24-team playoff format, the specific details have yet to be ironed out.
The Tampa Bay Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes voted against the new postseason format, saying it's "unfair," but they'll likely be happy they can return to the ice soon rather than not at all.
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