Yesterday the NHL.com published a long open letter by JT Brown. The former Tampa Bay Lightning player opened up about his actions on October 7, 2017 during a game against the Florida Panthers, when he raised his fist to protest police brutality and racism, and problems he and other POC hockey players have been facing during their entire career
Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor. https://t.co/KyqHW8tWdx— JT Brown (@JTBrown23) July 31, 2020
Brown wrote that he spoken to Lightning management, including former general manager Steve Yzerman and head coach Jon Cooper about his intentions.
Before I raised my fist during the national anthem, I spoke with the team’s owner, general manager, coach, and teammates. I told them that I intended to raise my fist in solidarity during the national anthem as a symbolic protest against police brutality and racism. They were welcome to come and talk with me if they wanted to have a better understanding of my intentions. When I spoke with my coach about my plans to protest, I told him about the time I had a shotgun pointed at my head. I usually tell the story about when I was called the n-word during a youth hockey game, and my coach told the ref that our team would all leave the game if he didn’t kick out the kid who said it. The ref wouldn’t kick the kid out, and so my teammates and coach all stood with me as we left the game
However, as an ESPN writer Greg Wyshynski pointed out on twitter, the Lightning public reaction was much more neutral than what JT Brown indicated in his letter
Clearly the Lightning reacted much differently behind the scenes than to their fans, according to that J.T. Brown essay. Imagine if they, and the NHL, had his back with an iota of the support they’re giving the movement today? pic.twitter.com/56p8S1uJ6I— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) July 31, 2020
This letter appeared at the same time when the NHL and their players have faced criticism from some fans to show some support for Black Lives Matter movement. In his yesterdays Lightning Round Hardev wrote about a #Kneel4Hockey campaign and if you click on this hashtag on twitter, you will see a lot of fans posting pictures of them kneeling on their accounts. On the same day the NHL presented #WeSkateFor initiative: the NHL players will wear #WeSkateFor Equality helmets to support and celebrate front-line and healthcare workers and racial justice activists, however only for the tonight’s games.
Other News and Notes
The qualifying round of the NHL 24-team tournament is starting tonight with the first five games.
First off, redemption for the Eastern Conference Finals series in 2016. The Lightning are clearly the better team now, it would be lots of fun to beat them four years on.
The Penguins are also a similar team to the Lightning in terms of their strengths: offense. Unlike the Columbus Blue Jackets last year, the Lightning can go blow for blow against the Penguins at the thing they’re best at. And with a more well-rounded roster around them, they can cover all their bases.
In the final year of his career as a Tampa Bay Lightning play-by-play announcer, Rick Peckham has found himself in unusual situation, announcing games remotely in Tampa with the whole broadcast crew while the team plays in Toronto. Lightning beat writer Joe Smith showed what’s happening behind the scene during the NHL return [The Athletic]
“No chance,” he said. Peckham said he always felt optimistic that the NHL would return to play and that he would get another chance to broadcast, at least through the first round of the playoffs.
“It’s so strange,” he said. “We’re not near the team, haven’t been near them and won’t be. But these are games of great importance and it’s your hope you’re able to bring your best. You’re following the games on the monitors and you want to be right on. I’m just glad we have this opportunity.”
The Lightning lines and D-pairings from the yesterday’s practice, Victor Hedman is expected to join the team for today’s practice
Lines & D-pairings from today's practice per #Bolts PR— Bryan Burns (@BBurnsNHL) July 31, 2020
The NHL have updated conditions on several trades