This season needs to end for the New York Rangers and the rest of the NHL
The New York Rangers and all players in the NHL are suffering through the Covid-19 pandemic in a state of uncertainty. This uncertainty trickles down to all NHL fans as well. As spring turns to summer, the leagues desire to award a Stanley Cup for the 2019-20 season is making less and less sense.
Simple question. At this point, why?
Why essentially compromise two NHL seasons in order to salvage what is left of this one? One that is already in shambles and will not be remembered for which team won the Cup but for the extraordinary circumstances under which it was won.
Yes, of course the players want to play, they are hockey players after all. But at this point, if all goes well, they would be gearing up to play next season in about ten to twelve weeks anyway.
Can’t imagine NHL players are enjoying the fact that they are sitting around under this cloud of uncertainty not knowing what they are going to be doing day after day, week after week. The players on the teams that have been eliminated from the pending tournament have to be relieved on so many levels. They can plan time with their families, go on vacation, relax and enjoy themselves while the playoff team players are stuck in limbo, a purgatory of sorts.
But if the NHL does go through with this ridiculous plan to have a playoff season like no other, what are the real benefits to the league or the fans? Essentially, there are none.
The NHL is racing to be the first major team sport back in action in North America, if they succeed there is real potential for the league to see sky high ratings as a competition starved country may flock to watch a sport that typically struggles to bring in new fans.
But what seems to be overlooked is exactly what kind of hockey “new” fans would be experiencing and the real potential that viewing this bastardized version of NHL hockey could turn them off to the game forever.
Hockey is passion. The passion of the players combined with the passion of the fans is what make the game so special. The atmosphere inside an NHL arena during the playoffs is like nothing else, it has the ability to create fans instantly as displayed in this post from a few years ago.
Why would the NHL want to take center stage and present a product that is not authentic? Why would the league want potential new fans to see something that is not even remotely close to the real deal?
If you are reading this, you are an NHL fan. Are you REALLY excited about watching the NHL playoffs in empty, neutral arenas? Spare me the mantra about how you would watch NHL playoff hockey even if it was being played here, there or anywhere in an empty void. That’s ridiculous.
We watch the NHL playoffs because it is the crescendo of the season, the ultimate sporting event to crown the ultimate champion. Can you say that we are going to get that experience this year?
Move to the worst case scenario and this whole exercise of trying to play through a pandemic really makes no sense. What would the ramifications be if a player, coach, or any other member of an organization contracted Covid-19 and died? Just one and the fallout would be consequential.
So let’s just shut it down.
Stop the insanity of trying to start something that you may not even be able to finish. Stop trying to fit the round peg into the square hole. Shut it down and let’s all come back in October for the 2020-21 season.
If the first few months of the regular season need to be played in empty arenas, what is the harm in that? The Florida Panthers already do that. A strange start to the season would only make the game that much more special when things return to some sense of normalcy and crowds fill arenas once again.
Next years playoffs would be off the charts.
I’m willing to sacrifice this season to Covid-19. It’s an extraordinary time, and not presenting the Stanley Cup seems so inconsequential right now. Having this virus take a toll on two NHL seasons seems very much more consequential to loyal fans.
Making this a money grab only compounds the negative consequences should the whole folly fall through the ice.