With just 7 days before the NHL’s Play-in Tournament begins, there’s a lot of criticism being lobbed at the league over its refusal to allow journalists into the bubble. They’re saying that it’s about trying to restrict the number of people for safety’s sake, and on the surface, that makes sense. It’s when you look at what’s actually happening that this starts to stink.
Each team will have a “content creator” in the bubble. For the Canucks, that’s likely Derek Jory, a great dude and producer of a lot of the awesome stuff you see on CDC. There’s also 3 NHL dot com writers there, and the PHWA is not happy about this. As a fan, you really shouldn’t be, either.
It’s a fairly obvious attempt by the league to completely control any narratives about what happens with absolutely no objectivity whatsoever. This is a huge disservice to the fans, because the content creators and dot com writers aren’t going to be digging deep, they’re there to promote the league and ensure that no matter what, everything is fine. We will know even less about injuries or infections, because any questioning of players by actual journalists will be in tightly controlled Zoom sessions.
And if you don’t think that’s exactly what’s going to happen, here’s a former dot com writer to spell it out for you:
-and this is ok, teams and league should market themselves. But it's also something that's important to remember when the league says stories will be told about the bubble and those people telling the stories allowed into the bubbled are on their payroll with NHL agenda.— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) July 24, 2020
And while not all of the PWHA writers are on board against the NHL’s decision to shut them (and fans) out, it’s a really bad look, as well as a slippery slope for the future, no matter what they say. If you take Gary Bettman on his word after all these years, welcome to your first interaction with the world of professional hockey. You might want to stop doing that.
I just can't even fathom writing this without acknowledging that the NHL is straining these "prudent health measures" by placing 24 content creators and 3 of its own writers in the bubble. Or that the NBA has allowed 17 journalists into its bubble. https://t.co/2PVqdgto5L— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) July 24, 2020
And that also means it could be more difficult to get accurate information, especially when it comes to players testing positive:
Ab health reports Covid numbers to the public daily. I Asked Bill Daly If the league would report their Covid numbers each day as well, and if it would include everyone within the bubble, not just the player results - which is all they’ve been providing to this point... /— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) July 24, 2020
So, with the league unlikely to move, we’re going to have to brace ourselves for content that’s as sanitized as your hands should be.
Anyway, with an exhibition game coming up on Friday night, there’s still a lot to be sorted out in terms of line combinations. One thing that doesn’t need sorting? Quinn Hughes.
The PP units could look a little bit different than we were used to seeing during the season:
#Canucks working on special teams in the third period.— Thomas Drance (@ThomasDrance) July 25, 2020
Miller - Horvat - Pettersson
Gaudette - Ferland - Boeser
And if you’re looking for some encouraging signs, here’s one:
Here’s the lines from last night’s scrimmage:
#Canucks Scrimmage line up at Rogers Arena:— Thomas Drance (@ThomasDrance) July 25, 2020
A lot can and will change, but this is a good sign that Travis Green is sending to a number of players: Step your game up, or you will be in the press box next week.
There was one roster move that was confirmed yesterday, though:
Can confirm Canucks will take Louis Domingue to Edmonton as No. 3 goalie. Mike DiPietro will remain in Vancouver and work with skills coach Glenn Carnegie, in case he needs to be recalled in an emergency. Would quarantine in Edm and test negative 4 times in 4 days to join bubble— Patrick Johnston (@risingaction) July 24, 2020
Meanwhile, just as your team is heading into it’s first playoff appearance in ages, this is likely not what you want to see:
They will however be without a very familiar face on the back end: