Snapshots: NHL is taking an unnecessary risk by saying no to Vancouver as hub city

Jun 26 2020, 4:08 pm

The NHL said no to Vancouver this week, officially, as one of two hub cities where they’ll resume play.

It ends weeks of speculation for fans on the west coast, and it’s a 180-degree turn from reports earlier in the week that pegged Vancouver as a frontrunner.

There was plenty of reaction on social media, as you can imagine, and Canucks fans were united — which is a rarity on Twitter. When it comes to healthcare rules and standards, it seems even the most diehard Canucks fans trusts Dr. Bonnie Henry more than Dr. Gary Bettman.

Reports indicate that what scuttled the deal had to do with protocols following a positive test result.

Dr. Henry said that contingency would need to be built into the NHL’s plan in case of a positive test to see if other players also contracted the virus.

“It might mean suspension of part of a series for a period of time until that could be done,” said BC’s top doctor.

You can understand the NHL wanting to have as much control over their own event as possible, and clearly other jurisdictions will give them more freedom than BC.

But while the NHL has to consider a long list of factors in its return to play plan, they need to understand one thing. No matter what they do, the virus calls the shots.

Should they be concerned about providing players with an enjoyable environment away from the ice while they’re stuck in the bubble? Yes, of course.

But they shouldn’t lose perspective. The No. 1 issue they should be concerned about is a player or staff member getting sick inside the bubble. No matter what the rules of local government are, that’s the biggest threat to the playoffs going off without a hitch.

By not choosing Vancouver, the safest NHL city available, they’re electing to roll the dice to an unnecessary degree.

Las Vegas still appears to be a lock, and you can understand why given its unique hotel infrastructure. The league likely believes they can keep a strong bubble there.

But what if one member of the hotel or restaurant staff picks up the virus? Many precautions will be taken, but unless staff are being tested and staying in the bubble, which doesn’t appear to be the plan, the virus has a chance to spread.

Nevada reported 381 new cases in the past 24 hours, and has reported its five highest days of new cases in the past two weeks. BC, by contrast, reported 20 new cases yesterday and has just 179 active cases in the province.

Toronto, which also appears to be a strong contender in the NHL’s eyes, reported 111 new cases on Friday and is trending in the right way.

But the hub city decisions should have been easy for the NHL: Vancouver and Edmonton, which has just 237 active cases at last count.

Any other choices present an unnecessary risk.

Okay, time for some Snapshots:

Happy Sedin Day

It was 21 years ago today that Brian Burke changed the course of history forever for the Vancouver Canucks.

I can remember what I was thinking as a teenager at the time.

“Canucks luck, watch Stefan and Brendl turn into stars and these two end up being busts.”

I was young, but I had been hurt before.

Indeed, the 1999 draft was thought to be four players deep at the top end, with Patrik Stefan going first overall to the Atlanta Thrashers and Pavel Brendl going to the New York Rangers with the fourth pick.

If one Sedin was going to be a bust, they both would be.

Lucky for the Canucks, they became future Hall of Famers instead.

Canucks awards

CanucksArmy’s Andrew Harris made a great case for Elias Pettersson winning the rare MVP-Unsung Hero double.

I don’t see it happening, personally, but it is interesting to see Pettersson getting overlooked.

Canucks fans have a long history of picking the wrong guy for MVP, and I suspect that may happen again this year.

Elias Pettersson may not have filled the highlight reel quite as much as he did in his rookie year (or maybe we’re just getting used to his brilliance), but the advanced stats show how impactful he was for his team.

Jacob Markstrom still has a great case to make, and he’s the most likely choice. But Pettersson deserves it.

If it weren’t for recency bias, Pettersson would have won it last year too.

These are my picks:

  • Most Valuable Player: Elias Pettersson
  • Best Defenceman: Quinn Hughes
  • Most Exciting Player: Elias Pettersson
  • Unsung Hero: Chris Tanev
  • Community Leadership (Daniel & Henrik Sedin Award): Alex Edler

Seattle colour clues

The yet-to-be-named Seattle NHL franchise announced the name of the new arena on Thursday. What was once known as KeyArena will now be called “Climate Pledge Arena,” which is a terrible name but a wonderful initiative.

Apart from a team name, fans are curious to know what colours Seattle will choose. The Canucks own blue and green, so that’s probably out of the question.

NHL Seattle’s branding featured on their website is red, with green trim. But I wonder if the green featured prominently in all the Climate Pledge Arena renderings are a clue.

Big Country getting big exposure

We found Big Country nearly two years ago, but folks south of the border will be introduced to the local film about former Vancouver Grizzlies big man Bryant “Big Country” Reeves next week.

Canucks coming home

Alright, time to look forward.

As the July 10 training camp date gets closer, Canucks players will begin making their way back to Vancouver.

TSN 1040’s Rick Dhaliwal outlined below that overseas players will arrive this weekend.

The big question will be how many players arrive back in Vancouver at full health. Out of the more than 200 players that were tested by the NHL last week, 11 returned positive test results.

None of those players included Canucks, a team spokesperson told Daily Hive, because Vancouver players haven’t been using NHL facilities to this point.

With more players in town, Rogers Arena should open up soon for limited player workouts. Tests will follow.