OPINON: The NHL didn’t let the bubble burst

On March 12th, 2019, thousands of hockey fans were devastated when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced that the season would be paused until further notice. However, fans were both elated and relieved when Bettmen announced on May 26th that the NHL had a plan to return to play.

From March 12th on, the NHL had one very simple goal. They wanted to award the Stanley Cup to a team and avoid any coronavirus spread. The NHL wanted to get this done as soon as it was appropriate to begin play.

“The goal is to resume play as soon as it is appropriate and prudent,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said. 

They accomplished this goal on September 28th when the clock struck 0 minutes and 0 seconds on game six of the Stanley cup final. NHL fans then got to hear the words they were afraid they wouldn’t get to hear this year.

“The Tampa Bay Lightning have won the Stanley Cup,” NBC sports commentator Mike Emerick exclaimed as the final buzzer sounded.

The stats in terms of coronavirus were absolutely astounding. The league managed to get through the playoffs all without receiving one single positive test the whole time the players were there.

The NHL accomplished this with very thought out planning and sticking to procedures they made.

Some of the protocols for the NHL in phase 4 included no talking in elevators, quarantine for two weeks if any player arrived in the bubble late, and holding back from high-fives and fistbumps.

Players following all protocols combined with great planning by the league led to a very entertaining and successful playoffs.

These playoffs were some of the most entertaining playoffs in the history of the NHL. Some of the reasons that this was the case was the fact that you could really hear the communication between the players, along with the format.

Watching over ¾ of the league give their blood sweat and tears into every second on the ice was just plain entertainment. The league this year started the playoffs with several 5 game series. This was the first time the NHL utilized the 5 game series since the 1982 playoffs. These series were super action packed and great to watch as a fan.

The round-robin was also interesting to watch, as the best 4 teams from each conference fought as they set the top 4 teams in each conference. This part of the playoffs occurred at the same time as the best of 5 game series. These games were not as intense, but it was still great to watch the likes of Alex Ovechkin, Nikita Kucherov, Ryan O’Reilly, and Jamie Benn all on the same ice surface.

The rest of the playoffs were formatted as normal with there being 7 game series to determine who moved on. These were the most intense and fun to watch series in the whole playoffs.

Overall, the NHL through planning and execution of the playoffs brought hockey back one last time in 2020, and the wait was worth every second of these playoffs that we got to watch as fans.