SOCIETAL ISSUES ARE THE FOCUS
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.
LEAGUE INVESTIGATES TALLON
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. ✶