Zdeno Chara just gets it.
You’ve probably seen the 24-team playoff format that will happen this summer if the NHL is able to resume. It’s certainly great progress, and the most we’ve seen since the pause began back in March (which, to be honest, seems like it was two-plus years ago, not months).
What stood out the most, though, was not the fact that just six teams wouldn’t make the playoffs, but that the top-four teams in each conference need to play for seeding.
You’re telling me the Boston Bruins, the league’s best team, potentially could finish as the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference and the Philadelphia Flyers could finish as No. 1?
Is it strange? Sure. Could there have been other ways to format the playoffs? Probably.
But it is what it is. There’s literally nothing you or I can do about it. You can complain all you want, tag the NHL on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and any other social media. It won’t matter. It’s what will happen if there is hockey this summer.
Which is what so many were complaining about the last nine or 10 weeks, right? That there were no sports?
Anyway, Chara held a Zoom call Thursday and discussed the format. And even though it potentially could be unfair to the B’s, his answer about it really should be how we all look at it.
“It’s one of those things you can’t really blame anyone or feel it’s unfair,” he said. “I think for us, we have to be grateful for the opportunity we’re getting when you look at the real-life perspective and what other people’s family, businesses are going through. We get an opportunity to start almost where we ended the season.
” … We have to be grateful for the opportunity and taking it as a huge motivation, excitement and kind of embrace it.”
As the kids say these days, “THIS!”
Chara understands he and his teammates have a plan in place to get back to work. They have the opportunity to, once again, compete for the Stanley Cup. Yes, the Bruins were red-hot when the season abruptly was paused, and David Pastrnak probably would have become the first 50-goal scorer since Cam Neely did so during the 1993-94 season.
But we can’t play the “what if” game. This is what we have to work with.
And Chara sees this is more than hockey. There are families who are struggling out there because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some people have no idea when — or if — they’ll return to work. Some businesses won’t make it through this, some families will be set back for months, maybe longer.
The 43-year-old is grateful for the opportunity to even have the possibility at another shot at Lord Stanley. And it’s clear as day he’s going to embrace it if and when training camps open.
Anyway, let’s get to some other news tidbits from Thursday:
— The NHL reportedly told its players that training camps (Phase 3) will begin no earlier than July 10.
So, what does that mean for that proposed playoff format? Well, I’m not quite sure. But I can give you what I think would be the timeline.
Say camps do open July 10 and give the players three or four weeks to get their legs back and get used to being back on the ice (something they’ve been away from for two-plus months, mind you), that puts as early-to-mid August we’d have hockey back on our televisions.
Of course, it could be later than July 10. It could be July 11 or 31. There’s no way of knowing until the league confirms the dates. But, obviously, the longer it goes past July 10, the longer we wait for hockey’s return. And then that pushes the start of the 2020-21 season a bit further, as well.
— Michael Jordan. Tom Brady. Roy Halladay. Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. Lance Armstrong. Tiger Woods.
What do all these men have in common besides being completely dominant at their respective sports?
Give up? They’re all getting documentaries about them.
We were captivated for five weeks with the “The Last Dance” and learned of “Man In The Arena,” which will be released in 2021. Part 1 of “LANCE” aired last Sunday, while Halladay’s documentary will air Friday.
And Woods will have an HBO documentary air this year — maybe in November — which is when The Masters is set to take place.
— While the NHL has a plan to return in place, the same can’t be said about the NBA.
The Board of Governors will meet Friday but will not vote on a return-to-play plan, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. But talks will continue this weekend, so that is a plus, right?
— Have you ever wondered why Bill Belichick cuts the sleeves off his hoodie? Well, his answer is quite simple.
“My arms are too short,” he told NBC Sports Boston’s Tom E. Curran.
Same, Bill. Same.
Tweet Of The Day
Patience (something I severely lack) is a virtue.
So NHL training camps won't start before July 10, although that doesn't mean they will start on July 10 necessarily. Just that they won't open before July 10. Inch by inch, people, inch by inch…
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) May 28, 2020
Stat Of The Day
The @NHLBruins reached the 40-win milestone for the seventh straight season to finish first in the NHL standings for the 14th time in franchise history and third since the Presidents' Trophy was introduced in 1985-86. #NHLStats #NHLAwards
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) May 28, 2020
Video Of The Day
Julian Edelman may or may not have convinced me to eat burgers for all three meals.
— Julian Edelman (@Edelman11) May 28, 2020
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images