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Lightning Round: Long weekend edition

Today is Memorial Day.

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Toronto Maple Leafs v Tampa Bay Lightning Photo by Scott Audette /NHLI via Getty Images

The blog will be relatively quiet today as folks in the US observe Memorial Day. Hockey remains on pause so there’s not much to report anyway. No further progress was announced between the NHL and the NHLPA on resumption of play activities. For now, they’ve agreed to a general playoff format and nothing else. So still a long way to go before we have a clear idea of if and when the NHL might be able to resume games.

Speaking of that playoff format, the Lightning were one of only two teams to vote against the plan. Alex Killorn noted the potential for team’s that get a bye in the opening round not being in as good of game shape as teams that would play more competitive games in the play-in round.

“I brought the format to my team,” Killorn said via text Saturday night. “They didn’t feel it was fair that certain teams that probably wouldn’t have made the playoffs would have a chance to make the playoffs in a best-of-five series. My team also felt it was unfair that the teams with a bye would not be as well prepared for a playoff series as the teams that had already basically played a playoff series to get into the playoffs.

News and Notes

Over the weekend, the Lightning posted a story about Yanni Gourde video chatting with kids from the Make-A-Wish foundation. Most of them have had their wishes put on hold during the coronavirus outbreak but Yanni took some time to chat with Lightning fans.

Over the last week, Gourde sat down at his home laptop and chatted with each wish kid, finding a way to connect with them - not easy given kids can be shy, especially around a pro hockey player, combined with the lag time we’ve all experienced the last couple months on video calls — offering them encouragement, explaining why their wish has been postponed and offering to meet with them at a Lightning game once fans are allowed to return to arenas.

New York state is allowing professional sports teams to resume training as of yesterday.

“Starting today, all the New York professional sports leagues will be able to begin training camps,” Cuomo said. “I believe that sports that can come back without having people in the stadium, without having people in the arena — do it. Do it. Work out the economics, if you can.

Justin Bourne at The Athletic wrote up his thoughts on the playoff plan. He’s concerned about further devaluing the regular season.

My problem with the idea of the NHL’s proposed solution is how badly it devalues roughly a 70-game regular season to date. The NHL was already a league that undervalued its regular season in my estimation, prior to all this.

But as we’ve written over the last few days, the answer to this conundrum is not to try to make the playoffs more fair. But to make them more unfair so that the regular season stands out as a beacon of reason by comparison. I know not everyone is with us on this yet. But I believe you’ll all come around. Or actually maybe not. We might be on an island on this one.