The good news is professional team sports in the United States resumed last week, with the NWSL hosting its first wave of games in the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup.
We probably don’t have to tell you the bad news of what’s happening in the United States right now, related to the coronavirus pandemic.
What those two factors have to say about the potential return of the NHL in the upcoming month contain too much gray area to be explored by this article.
Here’s the honest truth: we still have no idea if this planned postseason is going to happen. Right now, with everything in the world shrouded in uncertainty, all we can do is focus on the facts, such as Monday’s announcement from the NHL that 15 players — from a pool of 250 tested players — tested positive for the coronavirus during the League’s Phase 2. That report also mentions 11 players outside of the protocol also tested positive.
What is absent from that press release is any mention of the league retreating to Phase 1 or halting the progress of Phase 2. Training camps would open in Phase 3, which is expected to happen July 10, followed by Phase 4: actual games in two hub cities that are yet to be determined — Chicago could be one of them.
Will all of that happen? Excellent question.
What we do know is that it’s been over a month since the league announced this four-phase plan and no significant steps backward have been encountered so far. With training camps opening — potentially — in 11 days, it’s time to start reminding ourselves of the players who comprise ‘19-20 Blackhawks and the storylines that unfolded during the regular season.
So, beginning this week, we’ll begin recapping the events from the 70 games Chicago played between October and March. It’s been more than three months since we saw this team together, so it’ll take time to get re-acquainted with all the nuances of the roster and coaching staff. Once that’s done, we’ll transition to a preview of the Blackhawks’ upcoming series against the Oilers. That’ll likely occur somewhere during Phase 3.
As part of the SB Nation network, we’ll also have some theme week articles to hopefully provide you some less serious topics to read and discuss.
These are unprecedented times, as you’ve so often heard by now, which are causing significant suffering among substantial portions of the population. While everyone who writes for this website and visits it daily is aching for more professional sports to return in the United States, we must remain sensitive to the unfolding pandemic throughout this country and the rest of the world. Should conditions worsen to a point that writing about hockey seems too trivial to be pursued, we’ll stop publishing our previews and wait for a more appropriate time to resume. This action would likely coincide with any potential delays/setbacks in the League’s four-phase plan.
Hopefully, this preface goes for naught and we continue, unimpeded, toward the resumption of hockey by the end of July. We’ll keep our fingers crossed. But if the lights suddenly appear to have been turned off here at Second City Hockey, you’ll know why.
Stay safe. Wear a mask. And let’s hope we’re all back in front of our TVs soon, hurling profanities at the screen as yet another Blackhawks power play goes unconverted.