NHL Announces Revised 2020 Stanley Cup Playoff Schedule After Player Protests

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 28, 2020

FILE - In this June 22, 2016, file photo, the NHL logo is shown during a press conference in Las Vegas. NHL free agency day began with two rivals helping each other out of a jam by way of a trade. The Toronto Maple Leafs acquired defenseman Cody Ceci, a 2020 third-round pick and minor leaguers Ben Harpur and Aaron Luchuk from the Ottawa Senators for defenseman Nikita Zaitsev, forward Connor Brown and minor leaguer Michael Carcone. The teams announced the trade early Monday, roughly 3½ hours before the start of free agency. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)
John Locher/Associated Press

The NHL announced a revised schedule Friday for the second round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, which are set to resume Saturday after player protests following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Sunday.

Three series will return to action Saturday—the Philadelphia Flyers vs. New York Islanders, Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Boston Bruins, and Vegas Golden Knights vs. Vancouver Canucks—with the fourth conference semifinal series, the Colorado Avalanche vs. Dallas Stars, back on the ice Sunday.

The NHL and the Players Association released a joint statement after the postponement of games scheduled for Thursday and Friday:

NHL Public Relations @PR_NHL

Statement from the National Hockey League Players’ Association and National Hockey League. https://t.co/uV1F5iDeUS https://t.co/JS2t0MvUij

San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane, one of the league's most prominent Black players, had criticized the league's lack of support for racial justice causes on Sportsnet after it decided to play Wednesday's games despite other leagues' decision to halt play:

Sportsnet @Sportsnet

"It's not just my responsibility as a minority player in the NHL to be talking about these issues... We need to be better." @evanderkane_9 joined @DavidAmber to discuss how the NHL can do more to support the Black Lives Matter movement. https://t.co/wKFqxS0hav

The nationwide sports postponements came after Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, was shot by police Sunday in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves, another Black NHL player, explained why it was important for the league to take a stand during a press conference with several players:

"I think if you look around this room, there's a lot of white athletes in here, and I think that's the statement that's being made right now. It's great that the NBA did this and the MLB and the WNBA. They have a lot of Black players in those leagues. But for all these athletes in here just to take a stand and say, 'You know what? We see the problem too and we stand behind you,' I'd go to war with these guys. I hate their guts on the ice, but I couldn't be more proud of these guys. This statement that they've made today is something that's going to last."

The 2019-20 NHL season was previously halted from mid-March until Aug. 1 because of the coronavirus pandemic. The playoffs are expected to wrap up by early October.