By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Bucks started a multi-league movement on Wednesday.
Opting not to play their Game 5 with the Orlando Magic due to the police shooting of Jacob Blake, which occurred in Kenosha, Wis. (about 40 miles away from Milwaukee), the Bucks’ decision prompted the NBA to postpone their entire slate of Wednesday playoff games. It’s since led to all-hands-on-deck talks with those in the bubble questioning the validity of continuing the 2020 postseason, and it’s put Thursday’s schedule in doubt.
It also led to protests and postponements in the MLB, as well as the WNBA, and tennis star Naomi Osaka has opted out of her semifinals match at the Western & Southern Open.
But these protests never made their way to the NHL, with the Bruins and Lightning playing their Game 3 as scheduled.
The NHL did hold a moment of reflection before puck-drop, but that was it, and it was game on from Scotiabank Arena. (That move was ripped to shreds by Sharks winger Evander Kane, a co-head of the Hockey Diversity Alliance, on Twitter.)
That decision to play quickly became the topic of the night, too, even after a 7-1 beatdown from the Bolts.
“I don’t know if there’s discussion amongst the players to be perfectly honest with you,” B’s coach Bruce Cassidy admitted when asked if he had any talk of calling off tonight’s contest. “We as an NHL have voiced our opinion: We support the NBA and their players and their decision tonight. We’ll continue to fight for social justice and anti-racism, and I think the Bruins have been quite clear on their position on that and the players for that matter.
“As for playing the game I think then it goes to a higher authority than me so probably better question to the players if they felt that was something they discussed.”
(Cassidy, for what it’s worth, said he would have supported his players ‘100 percent’ had they decided to protest.)
But time was not on the B’s side, according to their on-ice leaders.
“It was so close to our game. After our pregame meal we took naps and then we were on the bus,” Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, who marched in a Blacks Live Matter march in June, said. “I don’t think any of us were watching the TV until we got to the rink and then at that point it was too close to the game to start any discussions or making, trying to change the, move the games to different dates. We had the afternoon game and we were just basically following the schedule that the NHL provided to us.”
“I’m just going to keep that at, obviously, we stand against any type of racism,” Patrice Bergeron said. “My stance and our stance doesn’t change. Again, any form of injustice and I’ve made a statement earlier, a few months ago, Zee did as well, I stand behind that statement. I want to be a part of it, part of a solution. Obviously, there needs to be change. That’s where I’m at.
“It’s about human rights, and that’s it. That’s all I have to say.”
Bergeron also voiced his support for Matt Dumba’s statement, while Chara applauded the NBA’s move.
“We support NBA players and all the leagues that showed their support,” Chara offered. “There are different ways to express that fight and obviously NBA players expressed their opinions by boycotting the games today. We support it.”
And like Chara, Lightning head coach Jon Cooper believes his team arrived to the rink in one world and left in another.
“I think the world has changed in just the short time that we were at the rink when I got here at 4:30,” Cooper told reporters. “I think what’s happening now at 11:15 is much different than what it was happening at 4:30. So I don’t know all the details of what’s happened in other leagues. I’m aware now, but at the time there wasn’t things being discussed with our group.
“We were preparing to play the Boston Bruins and you know when you have such a short turnaround from playing last night to today, that was really all the talk. That was basically all that happened.
“Obviously a lot of things we’re aware of now that we weren’t as aware of before the game.”
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.