As Gary Bettman awarded the Stanley Cup to the Tampa Bay Lightning last night, I couldn’t help but notice the lack of boos in Rogers Place.
Listening to @wyshynski on ESPN Daily and he noted that the NHL accepted recordings of "boos" from fans and that Bettman understands that this might be used when he presents the Cup and that's amazing— Sean Tierney (@ChartingHockey) July 31, 2020
It turns out the NHL actually had pre-recorded boos to play during his announcement, although they ultimately chose not to use them. And it’s a good thing they decided not to because Bettman and the entire NHL should be applauded for what they accomplished with the NHL’s Return to Play plan.
Dear hockey fans: next time you have the chance to boo Gary Bettman…don’t. For pulling this off he’s earned more respect than that.— Sid Seixeiro (@Sid_Seixeiro) September 29, 2020
NHL should just cancel the season and get it over with. This is like slowly tearing off a band-aid.— Scott McLaughlin (@smclaughlin9) October 26, 2012
Still think that we should just cancel the NHL season at this point. I am deeply uncomfortable with the unnecessary risk being introduced into our city as a result of all of this.— John Epler (@eplerjc) July 12, 2020
But, as I watched Steven Stamkos hoist the Cup late last night, I couldn’t help but realize what an amazing accomplishment the NHL pulled off. Against all odds, the 2019-20 season was completed and a Stanley Cup Champion was crowned.
The NHL gave us 63 days of virtually non-stop hockey. From the first exhibition game between the Penguins and Flyers on July 28, 2020 to Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals last night (September 28, 2020), we had the opportunity to watch the best players in the world compete for the best trophy in the world.
And for this, we are thankful.
Against all odds, the 2019-20 season was completed tonight thanks to the tremendous sacrifices and commitment of countless individuals. We wanted to recognize the critical roles that so many played and share our thanks.— NHL (@NHL) September 29, 2020
Thank you to Gary Bettman who lead the league in the face of adversity.
Thank you to the NHL powers that be for having the courage to think outside the box and bring entertainment to fans around the world.
Thank you to the players for putting on an amazing show while grinding it out in less than ideal conditions away from friends and family.
Thank you to the coaches, training staff, and team personnel.
Thank you to all the media members who covered the games and did an amazing job of bringing the action to our living rooms.
Thank you to the arena staff, ice crew, hotel workers, and everyone else involved in Toronto and Edmonton.
Thank you to the healthcare workers who ensured the health and safety of all involved.
Thank you to the countless individuals behind the scenes who helped make this work without a glitch.
And with that, it’s time for a well-deserved round of stick taps.
Hearty stick taps to every single person who made the COVID-free NHL bubbles in Toronto and Edmonton possible and successful. Six months ago it was tough to imagine a Stanley Cup being awarded safely. But they did it. Good on ‘em.— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) September 29, 2020
Shoutout to every behind the scenes person — medical people, security, broadcast production personnel, arena staff, league officials etc.. — who pulled off the NHL bubble. It was safe. It finished. Amazing achievement.— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) September 29, 2020
Thank you to literally everyone in the @NHL. Behind the scenes, on camera, equipment managers to the trophy winners. What y’all did is spectacular. The bubble was a success! ::boos Gary bettman::— player/coach (@CMPunk) September 29, 2020
Special shout out to NHL's Steve Mayer for his work in putting these games and these bubbles together. Tireless stuff, and the results speak for themselves. I wish more sports media critics watched the TV playoff product, b/c I think it put the other major sports/events to shame.— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) September 29, 2020
Major props to the NHL for pulling this off. Over 33k tests, 0 positive cases, and they managed to award the Stanley Cup.— Ryan Hana (@RyanHanaWWP) September 29, 2020
Seriously one of the crowning achievements of Bettman's career.
Congratulations to the @NHL and its players for sticking to a plan, maintaining safety and health in the middle of a pandemic and completing the tournament to award the Stanley Cup. Not one positive Covid case, some terrific hockey, and a worthy champion.— Jim Jackson (@JimJPhilly) September 29, 2020
The NHL put on a picture perfect playoff during a worldwide pandemic. Honestly pretty unreal when you think about it. On behalf of everyone, thank you for making this happen @NHL.— Nasher (@TheNasher61) September 29, 2020
No asterisk on this Stanley Cup. A heck of an achievement by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the bubble. The shock of that sweep series loss in April 2019 is a distant memory. This is what a 62-win team indeed looks like. They are the best. They are the champs.— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) September 29, 2020
Thank you, @nhl— Hockey Players Club (@hockeyplyrsclub) September 29, 2020