NHL Restart – Why Carolina players voted against 24-team format

NHLPA rep Jordan Martinook explained the Hurricanes ‘No’ vote

Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports Network
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Peter Koutroumpis


RALEIGH, N.C. – On Memorial Day, Carolina Hurricanes forward Jordan Martinook, the team’s NHLPA rep, took time with media to explain his teammates’ stance in voting against the NHL’s most recent 24-team ‘Return to Play’ plan.

“Yeah, we were one of the teams,” Martinook said during a Zoom video call with a handful of media looking on.

“I think it publicly came out that it was us and Tampa. Just for the vote, obviously we felt like you play so hard throughout the whole season to put yourself in a position to make the playoffs. We have a guy who’s won three Stanley Cups and he feels that the playoffs mean a ton. Doing what we did last year, everyone on our team feels the exact same way. So, to be able to put yourself in a position at that point in the season to be in the playoffs and then with still time left – not going to get into the odds and schedule and all that stuff – but obviously we had a pretty good shot at making it.

Now, with the return – and I don’t to want take anything away from the Return to Play committee who have had probably the hardest job of anybody in the NHL for the past three, four weeks – it is what it is. For where we were, and where we think our team thought we could get to, it just kind of limits our odds, and makes you play another playoff series basically. You can see every playoff series is tough. Last year we went through it, when you have to win four (series) to win the Stanley Cup; I’m sure the (St. Louis) Blues would tell you it’s hard enough. Now that you’re gonna have to win five, it’s obviously hard.”

With competitive balance and attainment of a playoff spot as a right earned rather than given, the Hurricanes players felt that they had to take a stand and vote ‘No’ for the record.

At the same time, they are prepared to take on the challenge ahead as the league and players move ahead to eventually put some closure to the 2019-2020 season with the crowning of a Stanley Cup champion – whenever that will happen.

“It is what it is,” Martinook said.

“We’re fine with the way it’s gonna go. You’re gonna have to win to win, so we’re fully prepared with what we’ve got moving forward.”

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