Big-league sports are slowly making their way back into public life, and the public is hungry for more. From NASCAR to Major League Soccer to the Triple Crown, each present and projected return is stoking excitement – even though fans still can’t buy tickets for the events themselves.
The National Hockey League remains suspended in TBA limbo. With no return announced, yet with no official cancellation of what’s left of the 2019-20 season, the unnatural quiet of the Long Pause seems ready to roil into chaos not matter what comes next.
Controlled chaos has been a big part of the Dallas Stars’ season to date. Ask interim head coach Rick Bowness, who was promoted into the vacuum left by the departure of Jim Montgomery in December. After that jarring transition, Bowness is doing his best to take the current uncertainty in stride.
Bowness talked about everything that’s happened with and to the Victory Green Gang during a phone interview with Stars senior staff writer Mike Heika:
“It was difficult early, just because I wasn’t ready for it and I wasn’t expecting it,” Bowness said. “I had to make a lot of adjustments, but I did that. It’s a little bit of everything. There were times it was difficult, and there were times it was very enjoyable.”...
The current situation is similar. He’s organizing coaches who are stuck in different locales, and he believes the team will be well-prepared whenever a training camp starts. He said the discussions about the state of the team have been productive, and he’s looking forward to putting some of the plans onto the ice.
“It’s hard to find time for good practice, and I think we need good practice,” he said. “I think there will be a lot of focus on all of that when we get back.”
Bowness has assembled an extensive to-do list for when the team gets back together. Stars Twitter may be interested in noting that young guns like Denis Gurianov and Roope Hintz are near the top of it:
“Denis and Roope, they have both done an outstanding job for us. And when we get back, they’re going to play a more prominent role,” Bowness said. “We actually were trying to do that when we were playing, but I think it’s even more of a priority now. We have to work to make their shifts longer. They just have a tendency to come off so quickly, and that makes it hard to get them minutes, and it also isn’t good for their linemates.”
“When one player stays too long or when one leaves too quickly, it usually takes to the next stoppage in play to get it sorted out. So that’s going to be something we talk about a great deal,” he added. “We’re at our best when we are rolling four lines and when our lines are playing consistently together, so that’s going to be a big push when we get back.”
There’s always more at Mike’s place. [Dallas Stars]
Since John Klingberg can’t seem to get the Norris Trophy votes he’s deserved, maybe we can promote him for this instead.
You may want to vote up Anton Khudobin’s TikTok mastery while you’re there. You have until June 1 to stuff the ballot boxes.
Around The League(s)
In case you missed it, the AHL is done playing, literally.
A letter from AHL President and CEO Dave Andrews to our fans. pic.twitter.com/2iYmlD2icU— AHL (@TheAHL) May 11, 2020
But the NHL is still working on a plan to get to the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs. Pierre LeBrun has the latest.
The NHL's reopening plan is continuing to take shape.— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) May 21, 2020
NHLPA call scheduled to discuss 24-team format
"Just not there yet" on official date, sources say
Toronto, Las Vegas, Edmonton, Vancouver and others among possible hub cities
And more via @PierreVLeBrun ⤵️
Also from The Athletic: Scouts are demonstrably best at drafting forwards, says Jonathan Willis. So should teams roll the dice on good defensemen being available later in the draft?
Are we worrying too much about the playoffs format? It’s been wonky before, as Matt Larkin can tell you.
The 24-team playoff format would be controversial. But it wouldn't be the first oddball post-season setup. @THNMattLarkin presents a brief history of bizarre playoff formats:https://t.co/EIQuNs8Mpu pic.twitter.com/zA4klUoBlW— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) May 21, 2020
Looks like the USA-Canada rivalry is – wait for it! – on ice, for now.
USA Hockey plans to host the World Junior Summer Showcase beginning in late July, but Canada will not participate due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus, according to USA Hockey assistant executive director of hockey operations John Vanbiesbrouck. https://t.co/fX4puAm57Q— NHL.com (@NHLdotcom) May 21, 2020
Meanwhile in the Québec Major Junior Hockey League, Alexis Lafrenière continues to buff up his Incipient No. 1 Overall cred.
Rimouski Oceanic captain Alexis Lafreniere gets the MVP title — again https://t.co/M2q9gY5MlD— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) May 21, 2020
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
Austin Metro fans, tag yourself in this Texas Stars fan tribute video (and relive the glories of Travis Morin Day and Stephen Johns’ first night back).
We would be nowhere without our fans. Thank you for your support all season long! Here's to you! pic.twitter.com/DB2rZs18qw— Texas Stars (@TexasStars) May 11, 2020
Good to see Ringo the Ringtail modeling proper mask wear in the community.
Thanks to our friends over at @makergear, who have been manufacturing & donating THOUSANDS of face shields, we were able to get involved and deliver some of them to Pediatric Clinics all over the Greater Austin area!— Ringo the Ringtail (@TXStarsRingo) May 14, 2020
We are ALL in this together pic.twitter.com/OzzXeKfU60
I am not taking sides. I am presenting the evidence. The rest is up to you. Enjoy.