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NHL unveils details of playoff format

(AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

The NHL cleared the way Thursday for players to return to practice rinks next week and firmed up its playoff format even as a ninth player tested positive for the coronavirus.

After unveiling the final details of its 24-team plan if the season is able to resume this summer, the league said teams could reopen facilities and players could take part in limited, voluntary workouts beginning Monday. The NHL and NHL Players' Association must still iron out health and safety protocols before moving ahead with training camps and games.

Players can skate in groups of up to six at a time under "phase 2," which includes specific instructions on testing, mask-wearing and temperature checks. It's another step closer to the ice after the league said every playoff series will be a best-of-seven format after the initial qualifying round and teams will be reseeded throughout.

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Penguins player tests positive for virus

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NHL to reopen facilities for workouts

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Ducks GM: Progress made, but not enough

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) General manager Bob Murray saw signs of progress this season from his young Anaheim Ducks and their first-year coach, Dallas Eakins.

Murray just didn't see that progress happening quickly enough, so he intends to speed it up himself next season.

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Recapturing team chemistry a challenge

Claude Giroux's Philadelphia Flyers were the hottest team in the NHL back when hockey was still being played.

That was

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Ilitch companies make masks in Detroit

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NHL plans daily COVID tests for players

Nick Foligno watches Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine's coronavirus briefings and appreciates the value of the information.

It is part of the reason the Columbus captain supports NHL players undergoing daily testing if the season resumes.

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Mass. Gov. OKs pro practices for June 6

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USA Hockey president under investigation

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) USA Hockey president Jim Smith is the subject of two investigations surrounding his tenure as the president of Amateur Hockey Association Illinois.

USA Hockey spokesman Dave Fischer confirmed Friday that the organization has hired an independent investigator to look into Smith's business dealings with AHAI. Fischer also said the US Center for SafeSport is investigating allegations that Smith was aware of reported sexual misconduct by a coach and didn't take action against him during Smith's tenure with AHAI.

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NHL awards regular-season trophies

Since the NHL is planning to go straight to the playoffs, it's handing out a handful of trophies for the regular season cut short by the coronavirus pandemic.

Not long after unveiling a 24-team right to the playoffs format, the league on Thursday announced the winners of its regular-season awards. Play was halted March 12 with 189 regular-season games remaining.

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