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NHL Leans Toward 24-Team Playoff, First Sport Reopens

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NHL Return to Play: Pittsburgh Penguins PPG Paints Arena

There is an interesting division occurring between Americans, and between Americans and Canadians. There are deep lines being drawn on who wants to push forward and who doesn’t. The NHL return is veering away from plans to finish the regular season, but perhaps expand the playoff format to include bubble teams. There is one sport charging ahead to grab TV revenue, and we dove into the contract situation of Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Matt Murray.

First, the sport which is set to re-open is Indycar. On June 6, the winged wonders with the distinct whine will whip around the wide Texas Motor Speedway. Here are the details (Detroit News)

As Indycar reopens, the Canadian Football League is ready to shut it down (TSN)

I won’t preach to anyone, but maybe a small analogy will help. Like many of you, I grew up working outside (Ok, I was a carnival performer/comic. They don’t really hand out business cards, you know). The toughest days were when rain clouds gathered. Sometimes it would storm all afternoon and then we had to open. Or, the clouds hovered; a sprinkle here, a drop there. Emotionally, you just want to scrap the day and start fresh tomorrow. That’s the easiest thing. Scrapping the ugly day is far easier than being caught in the middle. Your energy is lower as you wonder if it’s going to rain or if the effort will be worth it.

Welcome to the middle.

So, the NHL return is pushing forward, too. Woohoo! Larry Brooks of the New York Post has dropped a couple of scoops in the past few weeks. Late Monday, Brooks reported the NHL is now leaning towards abandoning the regular season and going straight to a 24-team playoff for the Stanley Cup (New York Post)

TSN Insiders expounded. The NHL return may include a 16, 20, and 24 team playoff format with a three-game play-in. All options are still on the table (TSN)

Actually, a team which gets a three-game play-in series will have an advantage over a team that starts fresh. That will be an interesting wrinkle to keep your eyes on. Players are well aware they won’t be in playoff-ready mode on Day 1 of games.

One week after we expected a decision on the NHL June Draft, nothing has happened, yet. EVERYTHING is still on the table (Sportsnet)

Take it from me, that the NHL was firmly in favor of the June draft. So firmly one executive commented to the PHN family, “they think they can cram it down our throats.”

Well, it hasn’t happened yet. I take this to mean a few well-respected GMs stood up and made a strong case and didn’t back down. Color me surprised. Teams we spoke to were resigned to it, but maybe someone galvanized enough support to push back. Good on them. June draft is a terrible idea born of scooping pennies not helping NHL member clubs.

Who are the Pittsburgh Penguins who most divided the Pittsburgh fanbase? We count down the most polarizing Penguins (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)

How much is Matt Murray worth? On the heels of Pittsburgh Penguins Jim Rutherford admitting he may have to trade a goalie, and PHN’s full accounting of the trade deadline conversations and draft expectations, we look at what Matt Murray and his next contract might look like (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)

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