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Ayres Aftermath, Seattle’s Transit Plan and Jumbo Joe’s last chance

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Thursday Links

Dallas Stars v Carolina Hurricanes Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

After a dramatic Monday in the league, things settled themselves down as teams started preparing for the playoff run. Let’s take a look around what drama the league has cooked up for us this week.

David Ayres

By now, everyone in North America has heard about the heroics of David Ayres who helped the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night. He was invited to the Stephen Colbert show, had shirts made for him in Carolina where he also met members of the Dallas Stars. Needless to say, Ayres is having the week of his life and deservedly so. However, Ken Campbell from the Hockey News makes a good point about the process of the emergency goalie and its affects on a team’s result and risk of injury. In cities like Toronto, New York or Boston; it wouldn’t be very hard to find a suitable emergency goalie to fill in the spot but what about cities like Florida or Las Vegas; will the quality of the emergency goalie be up to the standards of an NHL game? Obviously, there is no way to set ground rules for a situation that is so rare and random but the idea of one time, a team’s playoff chance relies on an emergency goalie is something to ponder.

Seattle’s Transit Plan

If you are a Sens fan who lives in Ottawa, I suggest you skip this section. Ever since Seattle got its new NHL team, they have been impressing the league and fans everywhere. I can’t quite point out what it is, but they just seem naturally more likeable than the Las Vegas Golden Knights and they haven’t even named their team yet. This week, the team announced that it will be subsidizing public transit for fans. Not only will fans have a free ride to the game, but the Seattle team is investing $7M into a revamped and improved downtown station that will connect with the arena. In Ottawa, we can’t even use public transportation to get to work.

Nobody can predict what kind of success the NHL will have in Seattle but the team’s management is taking every move and beyond to ensure that becoming a fan within the city is easy and convenient. At a time where the Senators can’t even invest $7M in a top-tier player, seeing other teams perfect their strategies leaves a bit of a bitter taste.

Joe Thornton

I never did like Doug Wilson, and no the Erik Karlsson trade had nothing to do with it. The truth is, ever since Joe Thornton got traded to the San Jose Sharks, he has been a cornerstone in any success they have seen. Unfortunately, none of their success ever resulted in a Stanley Cup and after 22 years, Jumbo Joe is feeling that his window of opportunity is closing down quickly. With the Sharks all but eliminated from playoff contention, the trade deadline seemed to be the perfect getaway for Thornton. Many assumed that both he and Patrick Marleau would be dealt to contenders to pursue their ultimate goals. Marleau was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins and Joe Thornton was just forced to watch his dream slip away as Wilson saw it fit to keep him put in San Jose. It’s not an easy decision, for management, for fans and for the player himself but it seemed Thornton truly wanted to move on. While the 40 year old could still have a season left in him; it must be a bit demoralizing thinking about ending his career on such a lowly note.

“I wanted a shot, you know? Believe it or not, I’ve been hunting this thing down for 22 years, so I wanted another shot at it. I wanted to get something (for the Sharks) in return. It just didn’t work out. Back to the grind, and that’s how it is.” - Joe Thornton

Health Concerns

The world has been fixated on the corona-virus outbreak and the results have been concerning and heartbreaking. From travel bans to quarantines to shortages in supplies for various industries including the NHL. With Summer Olympics being in jeopardy, the NHL is also looking into its annual preseason to trip to China. While in 2019; the league wasn’t able to send its players overseas due to logistical issues; the plan was always to return in 2020. However, with the outbreak in full force; long term plans need to be assessed. Bill Daly mentions that while no games have been set yet, the possibility hasn’t been ruled out completely as they will continue to monitor the situation. While October is still a long way ahead of us, the league should probably consult with the players involved before making any final decision.

Jay Bouwmeester

After a scary incident a couple of weeks ago that saw St Louis Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester collapse on the bench in what was later revealed to be a cardiac episode, the updates seem to be encouraging. Yesterday, he spoke to the media for the first time since the incident and luckily he seems to be recovering well. His future in the league however is still to be determined. He is already ruled out for the remainder of the season and I’m sure at this stage he and his family are happy to just have him back home. At 36 years old and with a Stanley Cup, an Olympic gold medal and an impressive collection of World Championship medals; I find it hard to believe that Bouwmeester will return. While players always want to leave the game on their own terms and sometimes switching off the passion of being a player is difficult; a cardiac issue as minor as could be, should never be a risk worth taking. For now, we hope Bouwmeester has a full recovery and whatever decision he makes going forward will surely have his own health and family in mind.