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Monday LNN: Pens and Oilers’ Disappointment, Expanding the Play-offs and More

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It’s the Monday edition of Links, News, and Notes

Pittsburgh Penguins v Montreal Canadiens Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images

A funny thing happened to me on Friday night after I finished my dinner: I turned on my TV and there was an NHL game to watch. I grabbed a can of beer, and for the next 90 or so minutes, I watched hockey in a way that I might have before this whole global pandemic thing. It was familiar, and comforting. I’d of course watched some other games during the re-start, but for whatever reason Friday night felt more like the regular course of events. It was very much the kind of thing I could have found myself doing on a Friday in the middle of February; maybe before I headed off to my own rec league game.

I’ve had my doubts about the safety, the practicality, and the ethics of the NHL re-starting the way they have. Those aren’t all gone, but the fact that we are now 10 days in without a single positive COVID test has been a great relief. It’s felt like a warm, comforting blanket. It’s been nice. I don’t think the folks that voiced concerns were wrong to do so, but I’ve never been cheering for the league to fail — I want this to work. So here’s to hoping it continues to work and we’ve got more mundane hockey things to write about in the weeks to come.

Along with the return of play, we’re also now seeing a return to normalcy in terms of activity around the league so lots to get to on this Monday:

  • There hasn’t been much Sens news lately, but the social media squad is running a bracket for fans to vote on which goalie had the best helmet while they were with the team. Patrick Lalime’s Marvin the Martian is iconic, and will probably win, but I’ve got a soft spot for Martin Prusek and Big, Bald Alex Auld’s designs. Voting starts today, check out the team’s Twitter account for more details.