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RTP Daily Thread: August 1st

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NHL Hockey is back!

Vancouver Canucks v Winnipeg Jets Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images

Well, we’ve made it. After a nearly five month hiatus, meaningful NHL hockey has returned. So far, the bubble seems to be working and the league isn’t facing an outbreak and existential crisis like MLB has during its return to play. So while there may well be good cause to be a bit conflicted about the product, especially in the broader societal context, it’s here. And even though the Ottawa Senators did not qualify for this modified post-season, it will still be nice to have some actual hockey to talk about.

This is all a long-winded way of saying that this morning marks the first edition of a new feature we’ll be testing out during the Return to Play where we post a quick recap of the games from the day before and a preview of the day to come. This will also be a place for readers to talk non-Sens stuff, and just generally luxuriate in NHL hockey. If nothing else, I think we’d all agree it’s been missed. Let us know what you think in the comments.

Last Night’s Games:

No games were played last night.

Today’s Matchups:

We’ve got five (!) games to get to today:

New York Rangers @ Carolina Hurricanes, 12 pm EST, Game 1, Series 0-0

  • The Rangers will be heavily reliant on a few stars to carry them against a much deeper Hurricanes team. Dougie Hamilton will miss Game 1 for the ‘Canes, which might give the Rangers an edge they desperately need.

Chicago Blackhawks @ Edmonton Oilers, 3 pm EST, Game 1, Series 0-0

  • I’m not sure how the league could have come up with a truly fair system to determine who was eliminated from the post-season when play re-started but including a team that finished 23rd overall does seem a bit silly. This series might feature some bad, bad hockey.

Florida Panthers @ New York Islanders, 4 pm EST, Game 1, Series 0-0

  • Sens fans will be keeping a close eye on this series, and with several former Sens participating there’ll be lots of familiar faces. Florida’s disappointed all year long, but maybe a shortened burst of play-off hockey will allow them to discover the next level.

Montreal Canadiens @ Pittsburgh Penguins, 8 pm EST, Game 1, Series 0-0

  • All of the stuff I said about Chicago applies even more so to Montreal — having the 24th place team appear in the “post-season” seems a bit silly. Penguins should roll in this series.

Winnipeg Jets @ Calgary Flames, 10:30 pm EST, Game 1, Series 0-0

  • By far the day’s best match-up in my opinion, this has the makings of a five game barn-burner. Calgary’s got the better team top-to-bottom but Winnipeg’s forwards are elite and they have Connor Hellebuyck - probably the best goalie in the world this season. If you’re only going to watch one game today, and why would you do that, make it this one.