There were no games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a second straight day on Friday after players held meetings on Thursday. The eight teams remaining in the bubble cities of Toronto and Edmonton came to the decision to postpone play until Saturday to join the protest against systemic racism and police brutality with athletes from other professional sports leagues.
“The NHL and NHLPA recognize that much work remains to be done before we can play an appropriate role in a discussion centered on diversity, inclusion and social justice,” said the League and the Players’ Association in a joint statement on Thursday. The players continued the discussion on Friday, while declining to answer questions about the upcoming games. They were also invited to continue talks with members of the Hockey Diversity Alliance, which is comprised of current and former NHLers with the mission “to eradicate racism and intolerance in hockey.” The players made the message clear that they will be part of the solution and they are learning more about the issues that can be addressed once they are out of the bubble cities.
The NHL announced an updated schedule for the Second Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Game 4 between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins will start at 12:00 PM ET on Saturday. That matchup will be followed by Game 3 of the Philadelphia Flyers against the New York Islanders at 7:00 PM ET. Finally, the Vegas Golden Knights will face the Vancouver Canucks in Game 3 at 9:45 PM ET. The Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars will compete in Game 4 at 6:00 PM ET on Sunday. The Flyers-Islanders and Golden Knights-Canucks series will be back in action on Sunday as well, with scheduled starts times set for 8:00 PM ET and 10:30 PM ET, respectively.
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Player news from outside the bubble was highlighted by Andrei Svechnikov. He said that the high-ankle sprain he suffered during the Eastern Conference First Round is almost completely healed. Svechnikov is confident that he could have returned in this round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs had Carolina advanced. He missed the last two games of the Hurricanes’ series versus the Boston Bruins. Svechnikov was also asked about a possible contract extension and stated that he would be open to signing one before his current deal expires. However, he will leave that part to his agent. The 20-year-old forward has one more year remaining on his entry-level contract. Carolina will also have to sign another key member of the club with Dougie Hamilton eligible for unrestricted free agency after next season. Hurricanes GM Don Waddell said earlier this week that there’s no timetable or deadline for an extension for either player.
Detroit loaned Filip Hronek to Mountfield HK of the Czech Extraliga, while the Islanders loaned Simon Holmstrom to Vita Hästen HC of Sweden’s HockeyAllsvenskan. Several NHL organizations have been loaning players to European teams to allow them to stay busy and playing before training camps open in North America ahead of the 2020-21 campaign.
The Pittsburgh Penguins signed defenseman Chad Ruhwedel to a one-year contract extension on Friday. The new deal, which has an average annual value of $750,000, begins after the 2020-21 season and runs through 2021-22.
According to AZ Coyotes Insider Craig Morgan, Brad Richardson underwent thumb surgery on Thursday to repair a ruptured tendon. The pending unrestricted free agent is slated to need about six weeks of recovery time. He wants to play next season, but it’s unclear if he will be back with Arizona.