The NHL will abandon the rest of the regular season and go straight into the playoffs with 24 teams instead of 16 if it is able to resume play, commissioner Gary Bettman said Tuesday.

Bettman said the goal is to hold an 82-game season in 2020-21.

While the players and NHL have agreed on a format, the NHL Players’ Association has not formally approved any actual return to finish the season.

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The league and NHLPA still must figure out health and safety protocols and solve other issues, including where to play.

Bettman said the 2019-20 regular season is effectively over. The stats are frozen as of March 11 for the purposes of player totals and NHL awards consideration.

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