By the time the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks cap their common seasons, the Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins can be nicely into the primary spherical of their playoff sequence.
Another weird anomaly in an NHL season with a COVID-19 backdrop is 2 groups’ common seasons overlapping with different golf equipment’ playoff sequence.
Neither the Flames nor the Canucks will make the post-season, however they’re nonetheless squaring off Sunday within the first of three remaining video games the place the outcomes will solely rely towards the place the golf equipment rank within the entry draft lottery.
Every different NHL membership may have concluded their common seasons by the point Washington and Boston meet in Game 1 on Saturday.
But Calgary and Vancouver nonetheless should make up three video games initially scheduled for late March and early April. Vancouver additionally has to play the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.
The video games have been delay when a COVID-19 outbreak swept by means of the Canucks’ locker room, and halted their schedule for 3 weeks.
So an NHL common season that was initially going to shut May eight will end with back-to-back conferences of the Canucks and Flames on Tuesday and Wednesday.
No ‘disrespect’ if video games get overshadowed
All playoff sequence involving U.S. groups can be underway by Monday. The Winnipeg Jets and Oilers open their first-round sequence Wednesday after the Canucks-Flames sport.
Playing out the string whereas different groups have already launched into their Stanley Cup quest can be bizarre, Flames ahead Milan Lucic mentioned.
“Yes. Yes it will. Especially when they’re meaningless games,” he mentioned.
If the beginning of playoffs overshadow every membership’s last efforts in a troublesome season, each organizations appear resigned to it.
“I definitely don’t feel any disrespect from it,” Lucic mentioned.
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Said Flames captain Mark Giordano: “With COVID, it’s a unique year. With the shutdown that happened in Vancouver, we knew this was a possibility for a while now.
“The league really doesn’t have much of a choice with the time frame.”
7 games in 10 for canucks
Flames head coach Darryl Sutter agreed the NHL doesn’t have the option of starting an already-delayed post-season after Calgary and Vancouver are done.
“I think they’ve got to get it going not only for the interest part, but for TV,” Sutter said. “If they didn’t start, it would just be too long off, I think.”
Vancouver’s closing schedule is arduous with seven games in 10 days, including five on the road.
Saturday’s game in Edmonton against the playoff-bound Oilers has the Canucks playing a pair of back-to-backs with one day of rest in between.
“We’ve got to play the games and the schedule is what it is,” Canucks head coach Travis Green said.
“I’ll talk to players individually to see how they’re feeling, have open, honest communication with players. But guys want to play. They don’t want to not play.”
Other than draft lottery position, scouting for next-season and the joy of playing hockey in an empty arena, there are few incentives for the Flames and Canucks to keep playing into the middle of next week.
Cashing in on television, radio money
There are commercial and corporate commitments, however, which Vancouver-based sports marketing expert Tom Mayenknecht says are prevailing in this situation.
“The main reason why the league is forging ahead is because of the business operations side of things, trying to get as much of the pro-rated television and radio money as possible, be able to say to their sponsors that they got 56-82nds of a season in,” Mayenknecht told The Canadian Press.
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“At finest, it is complicated for followers to see the Canucks and the Flames taking part in just for the statistics and on the opposite arms you’ve got obtained the Boston Bruins opening up towards Washington on Saturday.
“So there’s a bit of a cannibalization effect that’s also highly questionable to me. You really want fans to be focused on the Stanley Cup playoffs. And I think this kind of dilutes what they’re putting into market.”