It’s the last week of March and fans of the National Hockey League are going stir crazy while the coronavirus rages on, with seemingly no end in sight. The reality? There could be no Stanley Cup playoffs this year And really, with what’s going on in the world, who really cares? On a 0-to-100 priority list of things we need, a Stanley Cup playoff is a solid zero.
Still, with no sports going on to satisfy the sports-hungry crowd, that crowd can’t quit talking about sports, or listening to people talking about sports. The sportswriters have to keep writing about sports. The broadcasting panels occasionally get together with big bottles of liquid sanitizer and wipes to talk about sports. When will the playoffs start? Will the playoffs start? Will there be a Stanley Cup winner in 2020? Was firing Don Cherry the right thing to do? What will the new Seattle team be called? Will there be a new Seattle team? Given the situation in Washington State, will there still be a Seattle after all this COVID-19 stuff shakes down and fades away?
Presently, however, the NHL playoff situation seems to be attracting the most attention from the sports media and fans. A variety of proposals are being suggested, even the most dire one that starts with the letter ‘C’ and ends with ‘ancellation.’ One recent suggestion had the NHL playing no more regular season games if and when play resumes, but simply picking the top 24 teams, 12 from each conference, and holding some sort of a mini playoff system — perhaps a one-and-done affair, like the NCAA basketball tournaments, or best-of-three series that will have the desired effect of crowning a champion before training camps are scheduled to open for the 2020-21 season.
Personally, I love the one-and-done suggestion. Top four teams in each conference get a bye; the other eight play to eliminate four. Endless overtime. No shootouts. No five-on-five. Once that first round is done, and eight teams are left, only seven games will be needed to decide a conference champ. Then, have the two conference champs play a two-game, total-goal series — one home game each — to determine the new home of the Stanley Cup.
Hey, we’re in uncharted waters. There are no scripts that need following.
Twelve teams from each conference puts all but one Canadian team — sorry, Ottawa — into the post-season. It just might be Montreal’s best chance to win their first Cup in 27 years. Toronto’s first in 53 years? C’mon, get real, this is the Leafs we’re talking about.
- Comedy writer Alex Kaseberg: “At the NFL combine, 364-pound lineman Mekhi Becton ran a 5.10 in the 40-yard dash. When Tom Brady ran the 40 at the combine, he ran a 5.21 at 220-pounds. Becton ran faster with an entire Joe Buck in his belly.”
- Alex Kaseberg again: “At Kobe Bryant's memorial, it was revealed Kobe once showed up for his daughter Gigi's school parents' day in full Laker uniform with his Olympic gold medal. How would you like to be the dad after that with the Geico-Insurance-Agent-of-the-Month plaque?”
- Dallas forward Kristaps Porzingis, to reporters, when asked if the recent Mavs-Pelicans game felt like a playoff atmosphere: “I mean, I wish I had that experience to tell you.”
- Chris Long, on Twitter: “(Tom) Brady just left Boston on St. Paddy’s day and i believe that’s a hate crime.”
- Golfer Shane Lowry, on the 2020 Open Championship (from golf.com): “I guess if they do call off the Open, I will get to be Open champion for two years and I will have to go celebrating again.”
- Headline in the New York Post: “San Juan catches a break, MLB cancels the Mets-Marlins series scheduled for April.”
- Headine from The Hill: “Major League Baseball officially postpones start of 2020 season. Orioles rejoice they're officially still tied for first.”
- At Faux John Madden on Facebook: “Breaking: Dak Prescott’s latest contract demands to include month supply of toilet paper.”
- From @GaBoy_Shockley on Twitter: “Day 6 no sports. Watching birds fight over worms. Cardinals lead the Blue Jays 3-1.”
- Norman Chad of the Washington Post, on Twitter: “My favourite First-Day-That-Tom-Brady-Is-Not-a-Patriot Stat: He could lose his next 283 starts and still have a better career record than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers franchise.”
- Comedy writer Brad Dickson: “The XFL has cancelled the rest of its season. Great, the one place where you have groups of 10 or less watching and we can't go anymore.”
- Dickson again: “Right now my thoughts are with the elderly. But enough about Tom Brady leaving New England.”
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