NHL: the not-so-great-report at 85 percent

Here’s what we have on a superficial front:

Eastern Conference teams in the playoffs if the season were to end today (in order seeds 1-8): Boston Bruins, Tamp Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Carolina Hurricanes, Toronto Maple Leafs, Columbus Blue Jackets.

Western Conference teams in the playoffs if the season were to end today (in order seeds 1-8): St. Louis Blues, Colorado Avalanche, Vegas Golden Knights, Edmonton Oilers, Dallas Stars, Winnipeg Jets, Calgary Flames, Nashville Predators.

It is superficial, all of it. As you know by now, the season has ended… or at least halted… due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak. There are no sports – none. NBA? Done. Premier League? Over. XFL? No. MLB spring training? Terminated.

And while we are lamenting the loss, the potential loss of small businesses is alarming.

This morning I dared to sit in my friend’s café and have some French toast, bacon and eggs. Honestly if her place was as crowded as it generally is, I wouldn’t have gone in and instead contacted her via phone. I need, as well as we all do, at least six feet between me and the next person. No one knows who has contracted it, and where that person has been in the past two weeks as they carried it around. Two damn weeks – that’s what the experts are saying you can carry it around for before symptoms hit. Think of your last two weeks – where have you been, who have you touched, how many people’s hands have you shaken. It’s mind-boggling really.

I sat and she stood as a good proprietor does, eyeing what diner needed help or looked like they did. We discussed contingency plans. She’s less than a year into her business, and has fabulous diner food… as well as specials that’ll knock your socks off. She’s just getting the bakery part off the ground, and is being highlighted on WGN – scheduled for air March 22nd – but who knows now.

Who knows about anything now. Now that Governor Pritzker has shuttered all bars and restaurants starting Monday evening March 16 through March 30, how do you keep the business going and keep your staff employed? Can you deliver? Will they allow you do curbside service? Will the bank offer you a low or no interest loan? Do you reach out to those you know who can pony up some cash and keep you afloat for 2 weeks… 4 weeks… 8 weeks? Do you create a stacked-rewards GoFundMe so money is coming in?

It’s all a swirl in everyone’s heads, but especially those who run a small business. The NHL is not a small business, and did what needed to be done by stalling the season. They will not shut down; they will not go bankrupt. Maybe they will finish the last dozen games, maybe they won’t and head right into the playoffs. Either way, they’ll somehow finish. It may not be until late July we have a team hoisting the Stanley Cup over their heads and drinking stupid concoctions out of it, but we will have a winner. Then the next season will start later, and the league will time it out until the 2021-22 season starts in a proper manner.

As I wanted to tell her, but I didn’t as she was near tears – it’s spring, the Daffodils in my front yard are coming up. Somehow, some way, you’ll get through this.

Predictions? None for the NHL. No predicted champion, not this time. The winners will be us. We’ll all get through this. Stay safe everyone… and take care of those you can.

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