On Tuesday, the NHL decided to pair the return of hockey with a display of support of the Black Lives Matter movement. It was a good time to do it – the league has made a lot of noise around racial justice over the last few months, but the return of hockey represents the first time since the pandemic put sports on pause that the league has had the appropriate platform to turn words into actions. While the Bruins decided to let everyone know ahead of time that they would be locking arms with the Columbus Blue Jackets for last night’s exhibition game...

...the other teams were content to wait until the first exhibition game to reveal the fact that they would be standing in intermixed lines for the anthems. Sometimes circles.

While the teams and the league made it clear on social media that the gesture was in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement...

...the gesture was still ambiguous enough to leave a lot of room for interpretation.

That it was four of the league’s few POC – Nazem Kadri, Pierre-Édouard Bellemare, Matt Dumba, and Jordan Greenway – who took the moment to make their own gesture and stand in solidarity with each other was both unsurprising and powerful.

It also emphasized how alone they are.

Nazem Kadri and other PoC would like to “see a little more acknowledgment” from the NHL - Mile High Hockey
The NHL is not doing enough with their "statements of solidarity".


What does John Tortorella think of his defenders?
An in-depth look at how the Blue Jackets use their defensemen.

Back to Excited Episode 111: Exhibition win & Columbus series preview
Featuring the return of bad takes™

From the Branches

2020 NHL qualifying round preview: Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets
The Athletic offers their own preview and predictions for how this series will shake out.

Maple Leafs’ Mitch Marner joins ownership group of major esports company
Putting all those quarantine hours spent on twitch to good use.

Playoffs will put Nylander’s improvement to the test
The entire 2019-20 season was a redemption arc for Nylander, making the playoffs the natural denouement of his narrative.

Tavares embracing life in NHL bubble | Tim and Sid
Tavares gives some (small) insight into bubble life...

...as does the Leafs social media team.

Happy Friday!