The NHL keeps moving closer to returning to play. The league announced protocols yesterday to begin small-group workouts starting in early June. A maximum of six players will be allowed to take part in the voluntary workouts at team facilities. If all goes well, teams can proceed to full-squad training camp and then play can resume. The NHL Players Association agreed on the framework of a 24-team postseason format last week, with the league expected to make a formal announcement on that format this week.

If the most-discussed format is adopted, which would be seeds 5-12 taking part in a best-of-five playoff series, the top four seeds in the Western Conference, Blues, Colorado, Vegas and Dallas, would take part in a round-robin tournament so they could get in games during their bye period, and those games would be used to determine the teams’ seeding for the next round.

The four winners of the first round playoffs would then face the top four seeds of the conference. The same would happen in the Eastern Conference.

The league would either use two or four NHL arenas to host all the games. If just two arenas are used, Las Vegas and a Canadian city would be the front runners to host. Vegas could host up all 12 teams at one or two hotels and the costs would be significantly lower in an arena in Canada.