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Wake With Elias- July 25, 2020: Bubble Trouble.

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As teams make their way to Toronto and Edmonton for the Play-in tournament, the NHL is taking heat over media access.

Minnesota Wild v Vancouver Canucks Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

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 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.

And that also means it could be more difficult to get accurate information, especially when it comes to players testing positive:

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:

And if you’re looking for some encouraging signs, here’s one:

Here’s the lines from last night’s scrimmage:

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:

Meanwhile, just as your team is heading into it’s first playoff appearance in ages, this is likely not what you want to see:

With a huge challenge awaiting them as they face the Edmonton Oilers in the Play-in, the Chicago Blackhawks got some much needed good news:

They will however be without a very familiar face on the back end: