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Cannon Blasts: Reactions to the NHL’s return to play announcement

That and more of this week’s links

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman Announces Return To Play Plan For Resumption Of Season
Worst. Zoom meeting. Ever.
Photo by NHL Images/NHLI via Getty Images

Before we get started, I hope everyone had a safe weekend. Columbus was one of many cities across the country to hold protests against police brutality. A state of emergency was declared for downtown on Saturday afternoon, and an overnight curfew was enforced both Saturday and last night. I am scared, angry, frightened, and unsettled. I am bothered by both the deaths at the hands of police officers, and the actions of a few who use peaceful protests as a cover to riot and loot.

We try to maintain a politics-free zone here, so I don’t want to start any debate in the comments. I just want to reiterate that this is a community that is here for each other. I want everyone to be safe, and to come here for an escape from the concerns of (/gestures at everything else happening). That being said, I didn’t feel like I could start the week without some acknowledgement of we’re all going through right now.

We need hockey back soon. It can be a pleasant diversion, but more importantly sports are one of the few things that can still bring communities together. People from every race, class, gender, etc. in Ohio can root for the Blue Jackets. For 60 minutes, we’re on the same team.

For further reading, several NHL stars spoke out on social media to share their thoughts.

The NHL also released a statement last night:

The week that was

Gary Bettman announced an agreement with the NHLPA about the playoff format when the NHL returns to play. In this 24 team format, the Blue Jackets will face Toronto in a best-of-5 series to qualify for a 16 team playoff. There is still much to be determined, including where the games are played (two cities will be selected from a shortlist of 10; Columbus is in consideration) and when training camp will begin. Players can return to team facilities in small groups, but training camps will not begin earlier than July 10.

CBJ Radio voice Bob McElligott interviewed David Savard about this plan and his role as the team representative to the players’ association.

Back in January, Ryan wrote about YouTuber SpecmenceCBJ. His account has been active this week, featuring clips of the national media talking about the Jackets and the playoff. The consensus seems to be that a healthy Jackets team stands a good chance of beating Toronto. Check out this interview with Nick Foligno:

We also discussed the return on last week’s Cannon Cast.

Since the regular season is officially over, this means Zach Werenski finishes with the league lead in goals by a defenseman, with 20 (next closest were Roman Josi and Alex Pietrangelo with 16 each; both played more games than Z).

Elvis Merzlikins finished tied for second among goalies with five shutouts. Connor Hellebuyck had six, but also played 25 more games.

Basically what I’m saying is give the Norris to Werenski and the Vezina to Elvis.

Want to slow the spread of COVID-19 during the playoffs? You can pre-order team logo face coverings from Fanatics.

We have to wait a bit longer to see prospect Dmitri Voronkov:

In an ongoing series of previously unpublished interviews, Elaine revisited a conversation with former Cleveland Monster Cameron Gaunce.

Finally, the SB Nation theme last week was “Sports Moments That Made You Cry.” MrSwift explained why sports make us cry, Elaine wrote about the roller coaster of emotions when she worked for a professional softball team, and I wrote about friendship and personal loss as reflected in a series of sports moments.

Play me out

(Warning: lyrics contain some offensive language)