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Thursday Links, News and Notes : Akim Aliu’s Journey, and the Way Forward

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Also the latest on the NHL’s plans, and a whole lot of congratulations to go around in Sens-land

Anaheim Ducks v Calgary Flames Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images
  • Akim Aliu has shared the story of his journey through professional hockey, and life, on the Player’s Tribune. Aliu goes into detail on a lot of what he has, and continues to be, directed his way. It’s an important read in a season where the cracks and flaws in hockey culture continue to be exposed. It’s also highly worth noting that he feels there is some progress being made, and offers some ideas on where more progress can be made next - but as for state of things right now?

So, yeah, right now, I think the title of the NHL’s diversity campaign is a little funny. Because it’s like putting up a MISSION ACCOMPLISHED banner before even starting the mission. It’s not that the campaign is misguided — I think it has promise. It’s just that the road ahead is long, and it will be painful for some. And we are not at the end yet.

  • NHL Return-To-Play plans continue to inch forward, with more discussions expected today or tomorrow. We’ve gotten a few more details about the proposed 24 team format - fifth through twelfth in each conference would play a best-of-five play in round, while the top four in each automatically go through to the first round. Those four teams would play a three game round robin while the play in was happening though, so they aren’t going in cold against whoever comes out of the play in.
  • Wondering if Ottawa has been considered as one of the hub cities? Apparently it was, but was rejected at least partially due to not enough hotel space close to the rink
  • With the other levels of hockey shutting things down, it’s award season! First up, Kevin Mandolese was named to the QMJHL’s 1st All-Star Team roster, and is the Q’s nominee for the CHL’s Goaltender of the Year award
  • A few nods to come out of Belleville this season. Alex Formenton and Josh Norris were both named to the AHL’s All-Rookie team on Tuesday. Yesterday’s first and second All Star team announcement saw Norris also make the first All Star team, while Drake Batherson made the cut for the second All Star team
  • Happy Birthday to both Craig Anderson and Todd White! Andy turns 39, while the Sens original White turns 45
  • Saving the happiest news for last - congratulations to Marian and Ivana Gaborik who welcomed their first child, Bella, yesterday!