The NHL has worked out a return-to-play plan, CBA extension and used very specific planning to get to the start of Phase 3. For them to complete the season, the next two weeks leading up to the travel to Phase 4 hub cities is critical.
The biggest uncertainty in completing the NHL season remains COVID-19, but after the NHL and NHLPA's most collaborative labor efforts in decades, it would be a just reward if they can award the Stanley Cup.
Less than 24 hours after a tentative agreement was reached on return-to-play protocols for Phases 3 and 4, the NHL and NHLPA announced they have reached a tentative agreement on a Memorandum of Understanding that adds four more years to the current Collective Bargaining Agreement.
On Sunday night, TSN’s Bob McKenzie was first to report that a tentative agreement has been reached between the NHL and NHLPA on Phase 3 and Phase 4 protocols. However, there is not an agreement on a CBA extension just yet, which puts a full membership vote on hold for now.
Phase 3 of the NHL's return-to-play plan is scheduled to begin on July 10, the earliest possible date based on previous updates. The league will only move to Phase 3 on this date provided that medical and safety conditions allow it.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman made a formal announcement on Tuesday afternoon to detail the rest of this four-phase plan and break down the playoff structure and draft lottery protocols as the NHL strives to make a return to play.
The NHLPA Executive Board had a call on Thursday to discuss the proposed 24-team playoff structure for the NHL’s return to play. On Friday, the NHLPA officially announced approval of the 24-team structure and authorized further negotiations with the NHL in pursuing the return to play.