The NHL’s playoff bubble was an unqualified success and feat of great execution by the league, finding a safe way to conclude the 2019-20 season and crowning a champion. That was the grand achievement they hoped to accomplish and they did.
It didn’t take long for the poopy-pants to try to bring the Lightning down by pointing out it was an unusual year. As if everyone doesn’t already know that. Tampa forward Barclay Goodrow even clapped back on one such moronic comment this morning, which is a shame he even spent and energy or attention so soon after the top accomplishment of his professional life.
You try going through what we went through, not seeing our families for months, living in a hotel for 60+ days, 24 teams that had a chance, no home advantage for either team, but hey, say what you want https://t.co/aFtda98OJc— Barclay Goodrow (@bgoodrow23) September 29, 2020
Surely every NHL player would have traded travel and facing people boo them for for, you know, getting to actually be at home and see their wives, kids, friends, family members, etc for the past two months. It was over nine weeks ago that the Penguins left for Toronto on July 26th, and they wouldn’t have been back until just now, had they actually done well. July 26th feels a really long time ago from right now.
Anyways, there will be an asterisk next to this Tampa Bay Stanley Cup, just like there will probably be an asterisk next to just about everything that happens in the year 2020. It’s just been one of those years.
This kind of reminded me what Plum Boro’s own Pat McAfee said recently about how to handle accomplishments. Ever the wordsmith of our generation (as many have said), McAfee shared a poignant perspective on why he would have to put a * next to the college football champion, but also about what that really means.
“An asterisk is hey, look at the bottom of this page because we are going to further detail what has happened here. If at the asterisk, you look at the bottom of the page and it says, listen, in 2020 there was a worldwide pandemic, the sport stopped completely, teams had no idea whether or not they were going to play just months before the season started.
“Although there will be an asterisk like everything else in 2020, I think that asterisk will actually lead to people having a lot more respect and appreciation for the players, coaches, athletic trainers, equipment staff, everyone involved buying in and getting a season off the ground to begin with.”
“If I got a national championship ring and it had an asterisk on it, a big ass asterisk on it, I would wear that thing anywhere and I would not give a single damn about it.”
As Pat notes, a lot of attention should be paid to all the team and league and broadcasters and support employees in Toronto and Edmonton over the last two months who helped pull this whole thing off. This story is their story too, in a major way.
The Lightning players should be proud and not ashamed of their accomplishment in 2020. They won the toughest and most unique competition that the NHL has ever put together. Any clarification or additional information to tell the full story about the challenges that no athletes have ever attempted only goes to make their championship more impressive, not less.