Not since the influenza epidemic of 1919 has the NHL seen a shutdown such as this, and back then they only had to cancel the Stanley Cup Finals, then deadlocked between Seattle and Montreal. 101 years later, and the fates of the majority of teams still linger in the balance.
But more so than just a season in limbo; life itself for players, broadcasters, and fans alike is completely different. How does one deal with such a pandemic, and how does the NHL reconcile its season yet to be complete?
Penguins broadcaster and two-time Stanley Cup Champion player Phil Bourque spoke about these issues in an interview on A.M. Beaver County with Matt Drzik on April 2, three weeks after the NHL halted the 2019-20 season due to the coronavirus. Bourque spoke about the struggles to maintain the usual daily routine stripped from everyone involved with the team, and how the NHL should handle its remaining schedule if it decides to resume the season.
Bourque also talked about the major differences between the culture of today’s league and the culture during his time of playing, and how the nature of social media and expanded branding has polished player identities and created (in his opinion) a better product for the NHL.
To hear the full interview between Matt and “The Ol’ Two-Niner”, click on the player below!