Empty rink with seat covers in the stands, banners of the NHL all over the place, fake fan noises, zero atmosphere and electricity, players and coaches will give everything they have to be crowned winner of the… COVID 19/20 Cup! NHL executives, broadcasters and sponsors are hoping fans will be glued to their TV as they normally would as let’s face it: the only reason why they’re doing this is for… money!
So today, after four months without NHL hockey, players on 24 teams will start competing for the hardest trophy in pro-sports to win. After only two weeks of training camp and one exhibition game under their belt, the usually very entertaining and high tempo playoffs will now be, at least for the first series or two, very much a sub-par product. While the intensity should be present, the timing will be off and players will be out of shape sucking wind.
But for many fans, hockey is hockey and is better than no hockey. Fans have been deprived for too long already and can’t wait to see their super-heros back competing again. For other fans like yours truly, we will be enjoying the summer outdoors, BBQing and doing the summer things. For many households, television is off during summer months and it’s unlikely that sub-par hockey will change that. Oh sure, we’ll be watching scores, we’ll talk hockey, but it certainly won’t be the usual attitude of shutting everything down during the playoffs. Far from there.
Still, 24 teams instead of 16 means eight more teams’ fan bases having some sort of interest in hockey in August, including four major hockey market that would otherwise not have participated in the postseason: Montreal, Chicago, NY (Rangers) and Minnesota. Our Canadiens will try to upset the Pittsburgh Penguins, game starting at 8:00 PM ET.
So without further ado, here’s today’s schedule:
|@||12:00 ET||SN, TVAS, NBCSN, NHL.TV, FS-CR, MSG|
|@||3:00 ET||SN, NBC|
|@||4:00 ET||SN1, TVAS, NBCSN, NHL.TV, FS-F, MSG+|
|@||8:00 ET||CBC, SN, TVAS, NBC|
|@||10:30 ET||CBC, SN, TVAS, NBCSN, NHL.TV|
Don’t miss your chance to win an authentic Patrick Roy jersey! It’s free to enter and rather easy to qualify.
So there you have it. No matter your level of commitment to that type of hockey, try to enjoy it and mostly, remember that it’s just a game. The greedy COVID-19/20 Cup playoffs are underway. Here’s hoping marquee players don’t get seriously hurt, preventing them from starting again when it will really count. True NHL caliber hockey won’t be back until Christmas time at the very least. Go Habs Go!