If this were any normal late May in any normal year, something controversial, majestic, or weird would absolutely be going down in the National Hockey League. A phantom offsides call; a physics-defying goal; a face-lick; things of that nature.
The NHL’s postseason has long been one of the most chaotic in sports. Between the sloppy triple-overtime sudden-death marathons that hinge upon an exhausted lunge by some desperate fourth-liner, and the little-known, suddenly-hot goalies who bat away the status quo like it’s a shot on net, conventional wisdom is nowhere to be found in playoff hockey.
So it felt oddly … normal? on Tuesday when commissioner Gary Bettman announced the NHL’s plan to potentially salvage its 2019-20 season in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. As Bettman outlined a framework for an ad-hoc Stanley Cup chase, making hockey the latest professional sport to grapple with the question of what to do next, his ideas were at once rollicking, ambitious, fun, and flawed.
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