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5 Breakout NHLers & Hockey’s Diversity Battle | Silky N’ Filthy podcast

Welcome to the same yet new NHL.

Vancouver Canucks v New Jersey Devils
 Jack Hughes #86 of the New Jersey Devils and his brother Quinn Hughes #43 of the Vancouver Canucks pose for a photo during warmups prior to the game at the Prudential Center on October 19, 2019 in Newark, New Jersey.
Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images

Some things never change.

During the summer, it did seem like positive change towards improving hockey’s diversity was on the horizon.

That reasonable proposition was overly optimistic.

On the latest episode of the Silky N’ Filthy podcast, co-host Kyle Bhawan and I talked about one of the most thorough pieces of hockey journalism to come out in recent memory.

Sports Illustrated’s Alex Prewitt caught up with Akim Aliu following his whirlwind last 14 months, where he dropped that bombshell about Bill Peters, which was followed by his creation (in conjunction with other NHLers) of the Hockey Diversity Alliance (HDA).

The article talks about the crumbling relationship between the HDA and the NHL. The crux of the issue is that the NHL doesn’t seem willing to really work on the issues, according to the HDA, pushing only vague policies forward instead of actually working with the organization to create change.

“According to an NHL spokesperson, “The NHL and NHLPA actually were taking an unprecedented step to mine the resources of a CBA-negotiated fund that had never been used for such a purpose before.” But where the NHL thought it was bending over backward, the HDA saw the league as barely moving a muscle. “It just seemed like a big game,” Kane says. “Why do we need to have this intense negotiation if, genuinely, you want to see this type of change?”

The convenient excuse is to blame COVID-19 and the financial struggles of the league. That’s a lazy narrative, and it’s hardly an excuse not to put plans in place to push change forward for the betterment of the game long-term.

Again, it feels like the wealthiest people in the league — the owners — are also standing in the way of change.

Really, so season ticket sales were dropping solely because of Matt Dumba...and not because of increased unemployment, not to mention the fact that we won’t see an NHL game in person until, oh, 2024?

In terms of entertainment, the NHL is one of the best league’s in the world. It’s a damn shame that the quasi-racist business moguls running the operation make it so fucking difficult to actually root for this league to succeed.

On a lighter note...

The latest episode of Silky N’ Filthy wasn’t all about how the NHL is run by a bunch of non-progressive dinosaurs. We also tackled other hard-hitting questions such as...

  • Sour cream or salsa?
  • Morning sex or nighttime sex?
  • J.T. Miler or Bo Horvat?

I also talked about five NHLers that I expect to have a breakout this season, and some of these guys have already impressed thus far.

Jack Hughes

This is an easy take, especially after he was tied for the league-lead in points with six on Tuesday night. He should have had the outright lead, as his fourth point of the game was taken off the board due to an overturned offside call.

Hughes is looking just as shifty as his brother Quinn early in the NHL season. Last year was obviously tough for him considering that he was an undersized 18-year-old trying to do what no other draft pick had done before — jump right from the USNTDP to the NHL.

He looks like he’s ready to take over the NHL early in the 2020-21 season.

Brady Tkachuk

It’s early, but the Ottawa Senators' top line looks legit.

The young gun trio of Brady Tkachuk, Josh Norris and Drake Batherson currently lead the league with a ridiculous expected goals-for of 92.3%. While that pace is completely unsustainable, the trio’s success might be for real.

Not only are all three players young and talented, but they play in the North Division against a number of permissive defensive teams. Since the beginning of last season, every Canadian team except Montreal ranks in the bottom half of the league in terms of scoring chances against.

The young Tkachuk might be ready for a breakout year after registering 45 and 44 points respectively in his first two NHL seasons. Tkachuk might be primed to match those totals, even in a shortened 56-game season.

Tune into the latest episode of the Silky N’ Filthy podcast for the rest of the list, morning sex talk, and why the NHL has no excuses for not being progressive.