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Ab eS The real business | Will the “baseball” -type calendar survive the pandemic? - The Times Hub

The real business | Will the “baseball” -type calendar survive the pandemic?

The real business |  Will the “baseball” -type calendar survive the pandemic?

Each week, two journalists from the sports section compete in a rhetorical game that is sometimes serious, often less so. This week, Richard Labbé and Simon-Olivier Lorange wonder about the NHL calendar modeled on that of major league baseball.

Richard

Hi, Simon-Olivier! I hope you’re okay. How are you treating 2021 so far? I don’t know if, like our colleague and friend Guillaume, you are bored of traveling to the United States, and particularly to exotic destinations like Buffalo? Me, I’ll tell you, I miss it a bit, especially since the Canadian used to go to Arizona in February, and you know, in life, there are few things as pleasant as the Arizona in February. But in the meantime, we have Canada, and also several games in a row in the same city, which is a bit like baseball, but without the chewing tobacco and astroturf of my youth. And then, you see, the Canadian has just played two nights in Edmonton, and then three nights in Vancouver, against the same team. I understand our friend Gary (Bettman, not Cherone, whom I also salute) has already hinted that the baseball-style calendar is not going to come back, but I’ve already got a taste for it. You?

Simon-Olivier

Esteemed comrade, I’m on fire, thank you for asking, and I hope you are beaming as much as I imagine. A bit like a striker blanked in his first 10 games, I will gladly use the excuse that I am still “looking for my bearings” on this issue. Like everyone else, I enjoyed the first-leg series against the Oilers. Intense play and a solid narrative crescendo to set the stage for the rematch. But three games in a row? Seems like a lot to me. And again, this season is pretty promising since the teams in the Scotia Division (this is the only time I’ll write it by July, I promise) all have a little something that makes them interesting. But two, three game playoffs against the Detroit Red Wings? Against the Florida Panthers? Thank you, but no, thank you.

Richard

This is where we see the three or four generational chasms that separate us, young colleague. A baseball-style series against the Panthers, under the palm trees of Sunrise, with the hotel pool as the only source of distraction, and then you spit in the soup and say no? In my time, we have already forced colleagues to go cover soccer for less than that. Note that indeed, it may be a question of age: me, at 49, put my bags in the same place four nights in a row without having to run to the airport so as not to miss my connection on Newark (example chosen at random), that speaks to me. I would even tell you that it suits me. Have you thought about the bonus points in hotels? I do.

Simon-Olivier

I do not know how to receive this argument, coming from an enthusiast of your caliber who, if he could, would undoubtedly receive his pay directly in hotel points. However, I hear you on Sunrise, it is indeed a think about it. However, I will bring you elsewhere: grouping the clashes with – fictitious example – the New Jersey Devils, it seems to be consensus. It’s like a discussion about the new logo of the Montreal Football Club: no one wants more.

Would the amateur and the expert gain if the Canadian and the Boston Bruins only meet two or three times during the season to expedite all their clashes? I tick no.

Richard

I suspect getting back to normal will also bring us back 82-game schedules… and more games against those good old Bruins as well. As in baseball or in the NFL, could we not, also in hockey, rotate the opponents? Thus, the Canadian would not play against everyone every year. What seems pretty obvious to me is that these series of matches are going to lead to rivalries, and is there anything more selling than rivalries? I’m asking you.

Simon-Olivier

To your question, Richard, the answer is no: there is nothing more selling than rivalries, except maybe a third sweater with a hip design, as long as it doesn’t involve the stripes of a living room. barber or snowflake. On the other hand, I fear that you have a vision a little too “à la carte” of a future season of the NHL. Long stints at Sunrise, more matches in Boston, years without meeting certain clubs… You guys are like that, you young people want butter and money. But know, dear friend, that real life is also about facing the Minnesota Wild, the team that taught us that if Wes Walz and Antti Laaksonen were entitled to careers, everyone has his luck. And that is priceless.

Richard

Good point. But I think first and foremost the NHL needs to get out of the way, as they say, and see the results of this season. So, if the TV numbers ever explode and fans come back for more, I think it would be wise to listen. You will tell me that the season is only a few days old and my faith, you are right to say it, but it seems to me to detect a beginning of buzz that I have not detected since a fuse with this new calendar and these new divisions. If the people want three straight games against the Canucks, give them to them, damn it!

Simon-Olivier

Rest assured, this is not the fruit of your imagination: the birth of the beginning of the buzz that you detect is very real. But I think it has more to do with the Canadiens’ success and pocket goals than with the series of games against the same teams. If the Oilers had punished the Glorious twice in three days, a lot of people would have a lot to say about this damn Canadian division! And I am a little wary of the risk of slippage of the sequences of two or three games. Maybe Tyler Myers would still have beheaded Joel Armia if the Canadiens and Canucks had played a single game, but the “timing” was suspect. However, I side with your “wait and see” argument. If I were vaccinated, I would even hug you. But not yet. I look forward.

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