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Five Thoughts For Friday: Working Our Way Back

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A little bit of hockey, a little bit of real life.

Detroit Red Wings v Ottawa Senators Photo by Matt Zambonin/NHLI via Getty Images

It’s been a rough past few months. While there have been positives that have come from the COVID-19 pandemic, and the George Floyd protests, I find myself longing for nor malcy a little more these days.

Make no mistake, I’m not by any means trying to diminish the gravity of our current situation, and the changes for the better that have stemmed from the recent protests in particular. But, as coronavirus cases begin to decline across North America, and the summer is in its infancy, I guess it feels like brighter days are within reach, and that just makes me want them more.

So, I figured we’d focus on some hockey, while also paying respect to the important things. Here are Five Thoughts for Friday, and I hope you enjoy.

Are they coming back? Or are July-ing?

Yeah...yeah I’m sorry.

Anyway, it appears we’re one step closer to finally seeing some playoff hockey.

Mark July 10th down on your calendar, friends. The NHL is targeting that day, roughly a month from now, for the remaining 24 playoff-bound teams to begin their official training camp and get ready for the postseason. If all goes according to plan, the camp will be about three weeks, with competition resuming in early August.

Nothing is set in stone yet, the matter still remains to be voted on, and as Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston points out, there are some important housekeeping items to get out of the way first:

• Get clarity from the Canadian government on whether a 14-day quarantine will continue to apply to NHL players entering the country, which directly affects whether Toronto, Edmonton or Vancouver can be chosen as a hub city and whether Canadian-based teams might choose to move their training camps to the U.S.

• Finalize the two hub cities where games will be played.

• Reach agreement on the collective bargaining issues pertaining to a return to play, which include critical dates, the 2020-21 salary cap, a potential cap on escrow and other contractual matters.

• Establish protocols that govern Phases 3 and 4, which include testing, rules governing those who produce a positive result, living conditions in the hub cities, family visits and roughly a thousand other considerations, both big and small.

That said, it’s hard for me not to get excited. I can’t wait to watch some hockey.

Chabottawa

In this market, it can sometimes feel like our beloved players don’t get all the attention and adulation they deserve. That will change s the team begins to improve, but people are already beginning to take note of the Senators’ young guns.

Thomas Chabot is a special player, evidenced by this Sportsnet highlight package of his 2019-2020 season. While he didn’t have quite the same offensive output as he did the year prior, Chabot’s offensive game in particular is beautifully crisp and polished. His underlying defensive metrics took a step this season as well, despite being separated from Dylan DeMelo.

What really struck me in this particular montage was his ability to make no-look passes. Reminds me of another defenceman that we used to watch in an Ottawa uniform.

NHL: MAR 29 Panthers at Senators Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Kim Davis Speaks

After an ill-conceived video revolving around Tyler Seguin didn’t exactly go over well (we don’t need to relive it), the NHL has made a second effort to display their commitment to making hockey an inclusive sport.

The league’s senior executive VP of social impact, growth initiatives and legislative affairs, Kim Davis, penned an op-ed published on NHL.com acknowledging the work they have to do to make the game as inclusive as possible.

“The NHL has long used the phrase “Hockey Is For Everyone,” not as a statement of today’s reality, but as an expression of our vulnerability and a vision for our future. While the game is not renowned for its diversity, I believe it is nonetheless poised to become the most inclusive sport in the world.”

I’ll let you read the full thing yourself, because you really should. It seems like a step in the right direction, for a league that has struggled with this sort of messaging in the past.

Here’s to hoping for some genuine follow-through.

Just in the Tychonick of Time

Shoutout to my buddy James Wood for that one.

It’s official. Senators prospect Jonny Tychonick will not have to sit out a year after transferring from the NCAA’s University of North Dakota to the University of Nebraska-Omaha, and will suit up for the Mavericks whenever they resume play.

NHL: JUN 29 Senators Development Camp Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Ottawa’s 48th overall selection in 2018, Tychonick is wrapping up two years at UND where it appears he wasn’t much of a fit. Logging 15 points in 56 career games, Tychonick transfers with the hopes of finding an increased role, with two years of NCAA eligibility remaining.

While Omaha isn’t the hockey powerhouse that UND is, it will be interesting to see whether or not Tychonick can find success away from fellow Sens prospects Jacob-Bernard-Docker and Shane Pinto.

Owner-ous Deed

Sometimes, you have to marvel at the Ottawa Senators’ ability to generate bad publicity.

2017 Scotiabank NHL100 Classic - Centennial Fan Arena Photo Minas Panagiotakis/NHLI via Getty Images

We’ve covered the whole Organ Project debacle, and we know it pissed Sens fans off to nuclear levels. However, it appears that Melnyk’s eyebrow-raising financial numbers have also caught the attention of the rest of the league:

While fans are sure to be disappointed at the bit about the league not looking to remove the Senators’ embattled owner, the fact that the likes of Elliotte Friedman felt it needed further attention speaks to the severity of the implications. This is not Ottawa-based reporters, but national media getting wind of this story, and wanting an explanation.

This could be nothing, or it could be everything.