Chicago Sun-Times - - SPORTS -

Bray­don Coburn was po­lite but stern in de­clin­ing to an­swer the ques­tion.

A day af­ter NHL play­ers showed a united front, prompt­ing the league to post­pone two nights of play­off games to fo­cus on racial in­jus­tice con­cerns, the vet­eran Light­ning de­fense­man wasn’t de­vi­at­ing from the mes­sage.

“Thanks for the ques­tion. I ap­pre­ci­ate that,” Coburn be­gan dur­ing the Light­ning’s Zoom con­fer­ence call Fri­day. “But for the most part, and es­pe­cially to­day and yes­ter­day, we kind of want to make sure we keep our at­ten­tion and the con­ver­sa­tion around the is­sues.”

Fri­day’s two sched­uled games were post­poned. The em­pha­sis was on more im­por­tant so­ci­etal mat­ters tak­ing place out­side the play­off bub­bles in Toronto and Ed­mon­ton, Al­berta, and on the player-driven con­ver­sa­tions that led to the NHL join­ing North Amer­ica’s other pro sports leagues in stop­ping play.

“The other leagues ini­ti­ated this,” Coburn said, re­fer­ring to the NBA and other sports, which post­poned games on Wed­nes­day while the NHL con­tin­ued to play. “For us, we’re at the ta­ble now, and that’s re­ally the im­por­tant thing.”

The NHL al­tered its sched­ule with three games each set for Satur­day and Sun­day.

While play­ers and coaches rep­re­sent­ing the four East­ern Con­fer­ence teams spoke on video calls, the four West teams went silent a day af­ter mak­ing a pow­er­ful state­ment shortly af­ter games were post­poned.

As five play­ers, three of them mi­nori­ties, stepped in front of an ar­ray of mi­cro­phones, dozens of oth­ers — all wear­ing masks — as­sem­bled in rows be­hind them in a sig­nif­i­cant show of sup­port in a league pre­dom­i­nantly made up of white play­ers.


The NHL re­port­edly is in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether for­mer Pan­thers gen­eral man­ager Dale Tal­lon made racially in­sen­si­tive com­ments dur­ing the team’s two-week stay in the play­off hub city of Toronto.

NHL deputy com­mis­sioner Bill Daly did not pro­vide any de­tails of the al­le­ga­tions made by an uniden­ti­fied per­son who has said Tal­lon used “racially charged lan­guage” dur­ing the Pan­thers’ time in the East­ern Con­fer­ence’s play­off hub. ✶

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