This little nugget of info came out a short while ago, and certainly alters how things could go for any team in the playoffs:
The @NHL has announced more details of the playoff format for the Return to Play Plan following approval by the League’s Board of Governors and the @NHLPA.— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) June 4, 2020
The agreement is subject to the NHL and NHLPA reaching an overall agreement on resuming play. https://t.co/KThKX88JBb pic.twitter.com/8GLKgYoYfN
You have to believe one team that is thrilled with this would be the Toronto Maple Leafs, because this means that a win in the play-in round doesn’t automatically doom them to a quarter-final matchup against the Boston Bruins. It could still happen, but it’s not guaranteed depending on how the seeding goes.
The other big news this morning came out of Ottawa, as the Senators Foundation announced it would be severing all ties with the club:
I’m going to pass along what I have learned here in a thread:— Ian Mendes (@ian_mendes) June 4, 2020
1. Today’s Sens Foundation announcement has nothing to do with pandemic — or its economic effects.
2. The Foundation can continue to exist as a separate entity after July 31. Just won’t have the Sens affiliation.
On the surface, this seems very much like business as usual for one of the NHL’s most chaotic franchises. Dig a little deeper, and it looks like another brutal PR nightmare for Eugene Melnyk. Could it be related to the Sens Foundation releasing a statement in support of Black Lives Matter yesterday, something only the Sens and the New York Rangers have refused to do?
"Why haven't the Ottawa Senators released a statement yet?" pic.twitter.com/0DgCHbWvBo— Mike Beauvais (@MikeBeauvais) June 4, 2020
It certainly doesn’t look good. I will defer to the expert here, until we know more:
5. Sens Foundation decided to tweet about George Floyd yesterday. Hockey club still has not. Do I think that was a major factor in this split? No.— Ian Mendes (@ian_mendes) June 4, 2020
But perhaps it was symptomatic of a wider philosophical divide between the club and Fpundation. That’s an educated guess.
The Sens Foundation has done amazing work in the community, and will continue to do so, just without a connection to the team. Let’s just hope that those who count on the help that they provide don’t end up getting affected by this.
There’s breaking news out of Pittsburgh, as a member of the Penguins has tested positive for COVID-19:
No word yet on who the player is, but you have to think that the timing is frustrating what with the NHL making an announcement minutes earlier about the playoff format.
Finally, a stick tap for Cory Hergott of Canucks Army, who is hanging up his keyboard to devote more time to family. He’s been a rockstar with his coverage of the Utica Comets for Canucks Nation, and his hard work and perspectives will be missed.