Update on the latest sports
NHLPA panel approves playoff proposal
UNDATED (AP) — The NHL Players’ Association’s executive committee has authorized moving forward in talks with the league on returning to play from the coronavirus suspension, approving 24 teams making the playoffs with other aspects still to be negotiated
The NHLPA did not provide a breakdown of the vote of its 31 player representatives in making the announcement Friday night, a day after the proposal was presented to the union’s executive board. In giving the format the green light, the NHLPA stressed several details still need to be negotiated before games can begin.
Under the plan proposed by the NHL/NHLPA Return To Play committee, the top four teams in each conference would play each other in a mini-tournament for seeding. The remaining 16 teams face off in a best-of-five series play-in round to set the final 16 to compete for the Stanley Cup.
The proposal will now go to the NHL board of governors, which is expected to approve the plan in the next few days. Once approved, the proposal effectively ends the season of the league’s bottom seven teams.
Items still unresolved include potential game locations, when players can return to their respective teams and what non-playoff teams will be allowed to do during what could potentially become a 10-month break between games. While NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said the league has a plan in place, he stopped short of providing details by saying it would be premature to do so at this time.
In other developments related to the coronavirus pandemic:
— Georgetown basketball coach Patrick Ewing has tested positive for COVID-19 and is being treated at a hospital. The Hall of Fame player and former New York Knicks center says the virus is serious and should not be taken lightly, adding that he wanted to encourage everyone to stay safe and take care of themselves and their loved ones. Ewing also thanked the healthcare workers and everyone on the front lines. The school said the 57-year-old Ewing is the only member of its men’s program who has contracted the coronavirus.
— Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has announced that the soccer league in Spain will be allowed to resume June 8. It’s not clear when the first games will be held. The top tier, La Liga, has said it wants to resume play on June 12. There has been no play in the top tier due to the coronavirus crisis since March 12. Teams have recently returned to training at club facilities, but with players practicing individually. Barcelona is top of the league with a two-point lead over Real Madrid after 27 of 38 rounds.
— The World of Outlaws raced in front of live fans for the first time in months at a Sprint Car event in Missouri Friday night. Brad Sweet edged his brother-in-law Kyle Larson, who is back racing dirt cars after losing his Cup ride over a racial slur. In qualifying for the 30-lap feature at Federated Auto Parts I-55 Raceway, Larson became the first Sprint Car driver to break the 10-second barrier at the one-third mile, high-banked oval with a lap of 9.995 seconds. The Outlaws returned last week in Iowa at Knoxville Raceway for a race run without fans.