Blake’s Takes: The Pause Lingers On

We’re entering another week of quarantine. I hope everyone is staying inside and is assisting in preventing the spread of the Coronavirus. Sadly, a few new NHL players tested positive for COVID-19 last week. However, there was a bit of good news that I’m happy to talk about. The virus hasn’t stopped me from giving you all the hot takes you deserve.

1. Another COVID Case: Two Avs Test Positive

Unfortunately, the Coronavirus has affected another NHL team besides the Ottawa Senators. Last week, the Colorado Avalanche announced that two of their players had tested positive for COVID-19. These unnamed players are the third and fourth confirmed cases of COVID-19 among active NHLers.

I wish I could say I am surprised. As the pandemic continues to spread, it was only a matter of time before additional cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the hockey community. Thankfully, all NHL players are in peak physical condition, so the odds of the virus seriously impacting their health is low. In the NBA, Pistons’ big-man, Christian Wood, has already fully recovered from the virus in a matter of weeks. I’m sure it will be the same for all players affected.

In the meantime, all we can do is stay inside and hope that by following the necessary steps we can help prevent the spread of the virus.

2. Bauer Helping to Stop the Spread of the Virus

As the Coronavirus continues to impact communities across the world, some companies, including New Balance, are doing their part to help. Bauer, the company that makes hockey gear and apparel, announced that they would start producing protective shields for hospital workers and first-responders.

First, these shields look sick — in a good way!. If I were a first-responder or was someone who needed some sort of protection to treat people with COVID-19, I would definitely want to be rocking one of these Bauer shields. Not only is Bauer doing a tremendous service to many of the communities in need of additional medical supplies, but they’re making damn sure that the people wearing their masks will be looking awesome.

Typically, when I see someone wearing Bauer headwear, I notice their flow coming out the back. Going forward, people might start associating the name Bauer with healthcare instead of gnarly flow.

3. Breakout Star: Anthony DeAngelo

I was bored as hell the other day, and every day, when I saw an Instagram post from the NHL asking who the most improved player was this season. The league is obviously grasping for some content during the pause. Thankfully for me, their desperation inspired this take.

 

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BREAKOUT STAR ⬇️

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I took a look at the list of players and saw a name I didn’t know very well, Anthony DeAngelo of the New York Rangers. The Rangers are an interesting team as their rebuild seems to be nearing its end with the additions of Artemi Panarin, Adam Fox, and Kappo Kakko this offseason, and the emergence of Mika Zibanejad. I’m happy for New York fans that at least one of James Dolan’s teams know what they’re doing. (Editor’s Note: Dolan, who also owns the New York Knicks NBA team, recently tested positive for COVID-19, and is experiencing “little to no symptoms.”

Anyway, I hadn’t heard a lot of hype about DeAngelo this season. Then I took a look at his stats. DeAngelo is fourth in the league in points among defensemen with 53. He’s also tied for fourth in goals among defensemen. He’s right up there with the likes of John Carlson, Roman Josi, and Victor Hedman. I did not know he was this good. It’s an absolute crime he wasn’t an All-Star this season. DeAngelo has already ripped past his previous career highs in goals, assists, and points. He’s also carrying a plus 12 rating.

With the emergence of DeAngelo, the Rangers will be a very dangerous team in the next year or two. Watch out.

4. Coyotes and Hall Talk Extension

[Photo Credit: NHL]
With the season on pause, literally any nugget of news is greatly appreciated. Although the games are suspended, business never sleeps. On Saturday, a report appeared on NHL.com that the Coyotes and their former Hart Trophy winner, Taylor Hall, have been in talks to keep the winger in Arizona when his contract expires after this season.

Arizona GM John Chayka has been a man on a mission to make people care about hockey in Arizona. After the team made a surprise playoff push last year, he went out and traded for Phil “The Thrill” Kessel over the summer. He’s also extended captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson and young, phenom Clayton Keller. Adding Hall to the mix long-term would be a huge win to keep the momentum going in Arizona. It sucks that the ‘Yotes have fallen in the standings and sit four points out of a playoff spot.

It’s crazy to think Hall is only 28 years old. It was a decade ago that he was the first-overall pick of the 2010 draft by the Oilers. Two years removed from his MVP season, Hall has been good, but not great, this season. The Devils shipped him out of town 30 games into the season. Since joining the Coyotes, he’s played well, with 27 points in 35 games.

If Hall does stay in Arizona long-term, he is the piece they desperately need. Arizona plays a much more defensive style of hockey and struggles to score goals. If Kessel and Hall can play to their potentials,  they could be a threat out west.

5. When Will the Season Resume?

Before I even attempt to tackle this subject, I’ll first say that the NHL season and all other sporting events are the last of everyone’s priorities right now. Preventing the spread of COVID-19 and ensuring everyone’s safety is the priority. That being said, those greater priorities have and will continue to have a great impact on the NHL season. So, seeing as we are all quarantined and the season is on pause, when could the league return to play? And should they even return at all?

As of right now, the league, and many of the other professional sports leagues across the world, have kept a tight lip on when they plan on returning to play. A smart move, as things are changing every day as the virus keeps spreading. Whenever the league and Board of Governors can start to think about restarting the season, they will have a logistical nightmare waiting for them. Things like stadium availability, broadcasting agreements, player salaries, when to start the playoffs, and so forth. I’m happy that I don’t have any part in the decision making. That being said, what if the league opts to not restart the season at all?

I think we can all agree that the league not restarting would be a tragedy. At some point, the NHL will have to make a decision on how much they will let COVID-19 and this season affect next season. ■

Blake Isaacs is a die-hard Red Wings fan that doesn’t go to as many games as he should. He is also a big fan of 7-Eleven Slurpeees, Chipotle, and all things Michigan State. Follow him on Twitter @bisaacs1995.

2 thoughts on “Blake’s Takes: The Pause Lingers On”

  1. As a Ranger fan, yes, I have definitely been impressed by DeAngelo’s play this season. The team really looks to be improved. I hope it lasts.

    Sadly, I don’t think we’ll see any more of this season.

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