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Saturday Habs Headlines: Reactions to the NHL players’ decision to strike

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In today’s links, what to make of the playoff postponement, Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s desire to improve, and how Covid-19 impacted the Blues’ post-season performance.

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2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs - Edmonton - Press Conference Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images

Racial Justice Strike

  • The NHL’s delayed response only served to alienate both fans and hockey players of colour. [Yahoo]
  • Though the NHL did eventually follow the lead of other professional sports leagues, it was too little too late. [The Athletic]
  • However, NHL players recognize the significance of the recent events. [The Athletic]
  • Vancouver Canucks’ defenceman Troy Stecher didn’t mince words when talking about the Jacob Blake shooting. [The Province]
  • Carolina Hurricanes’ defenceman Jaccob Slavin understands just how important the NHL’s postponement is. [NHL]
  • Meanwhile, Braydon Coburn has this say in his media scrum:
  • Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand also focused on the real issue at hand:
  • Despite the NHL’s belated response, more needs to be done to ensure lasting change:

Montreal Canadiens news and notes

  • The Canadiens released this statement in support of the players’ decision:
  • Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s playoff experience has motivated the young Finn to continue improving on the ice. [Montreal Gazette]
  • Praises from coach Claude Julien and general manager Marc Bergevin helped boost Kotkaniemi’s confidence. [RDS]
  • Speaking of Julien, he will be behind the Canadiens bench next season. [TSN]
  • Could Carey Price potentially pass Jacques Plante to become the best goaltender to wear a Canadiens jersey? [NHL]
  • Phillip Danault’s self-confidence shouldn’t be misconstrued as selfishness. [Sportsnet]
  • Former Canadien Torrey Mitchell looked back fondly on his time with the team:

Around the league and elsewhere

  • GM Doug Armstrong spoke candidly about the effect that recovering from Covid-19 had on the St. Louis Blues. [Sportsnet]
  • Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon is under investigation by the NHL for using racially insensitive language. [NBC Sports]
  • It remains to be seen what the NHL will do following such a momentous decision to voluntarily stop playing. [TSN]
  • But it is encouraging to see that NHL players are finally having some difficult conversations. [Sports Illustrated]
  • Canucks fans have been warned by the RCMP to limit their celebrations in wake of their team’s playoff successes, due to Covid-19-related concerns. [CTV News]
  • The Stewart family shed light on the flaws in the current hockey system:
View this post on Instagram

"IT WAS ALL A DREAM" It's becoming a bit tiring hearing from from people who haven't experienced our plight in life comment on how we should express it. Most people in this hockey world do not know the feeling of going to bed hungry at night. They do not understand the hopelessness of living in government housing and seedy motels amongst drug attics and prostitution. Many do not know the pressure of being 11 years old and burdened with having to make it to the NHL to financially support your family. The Stewart family beat the system. We were taught that we have to work twice as hard for half the opportunity of others and that is wrong. We should have been treated as equals and granted the same opportunities as others despite are socioeconomic status and colour of our skin. We're at odds as we do not not know what to tell our children as they have a much easier life despite being visible minorities. We do not want to have to teach them the same lessons we were taught as we hope the world IS and WILL be different, and the system isnt designed against them to become successful in their lives. We dont want your pity, your hashtags, your courtesy tweets. We want the system to make hockey more accessible and affordable so people that look like us have the opportunity to change their lives through this great game. The real tragedy is that the way the current hockey system is constructed, families that aren't affluent have very little opportunity to excel in the game. Families cannot afford 10's of thousands of dollars a year to supplement training , pay for equipment and registration costs. I estimate it costs anywhere from $100,000 -$200,000 to financially support a minor Hockey player. That's the travesty as it directly impacts a certain class of people and demographic. That must change!!!! That is the change we strive for.

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