NHL playoff format could hurt Oilers, but Connor McDavid won’t complain

NHL playoff format could hurt Oilers, but Connor McDavid won’t complain

The NHL’s Return To Play plan has been a point of contention between the league and the player’s association for weeks now. And despite the official announcement of a 24-team playoff format, not every NHL club is happy. 

The format favors some teams, like the Chicago Blackhawks and Montreal Canadiens, who are slated to sneak into the play-in tournament even though they likely had little chance to make the playoffs had the regular season been completed in normal fashion. 

For other teams, like the Edmonton Oilers, the new format is not as favorable. Still, Oilers superstar Connor McDavid acknowledged the plan represents a best-case scenario for the league.


At the time the NHLsuspended play, the Oilers had the fourth-most points in the Western Conference with 83. But because they played more games than the Dallas Stars — who had a higher points percentage — they fell to the fifth seed in the new playoff format. 

That means they must play a best-of-five play-in series against the 12th-seeded Blackhawks instead of participating in the round robin between the top four clubs in the conference. 

The NHL’s plan means the Oilers could potentially go from having home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs to not even getting into the final 16. If the Blackhawks can pull off an upset, that is.

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Blackhawks restructure hockey operations department, remove eight from roles

Blackhawks restructure hockey operations department, remove eight from roles

The Blackhawks restructured their hockey operations department by changing the titles of nine staff members and removing eight others from their respective roles, according to the team's website. The Athletic's Scott Powers first pointed out the news.

Most notably, Norm Maciver was demoted from assistant general manager to vice president of player personnel. He had been in the assistant GM role for eight seasons and previously served as the director of player personnel for one and director of player development for three.

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The Blackhawks also made five promotions: Kyle Davidson's title went from assistant to the GM to assistant GM of hockey administration, Mark Eaton went from director of player development to assistant GM of player development, Ryan Stewart went from vice president of pro scouting to assistant GM of pro scouting, Mike Doneghey went from head USA scout to director of player evaluation and recruitment and Rob Facca went from amateur scout to head USA scout.

In addition, it appears three others were moved into part-times roles: Barry Smith, who previously served as the director of player evaluation, and Pierre Gauthier, who previously served as the director of player personnel, are now senior advisors of player personnel while Ron Anderson, who previously served as the director of player recruitment, is now the senior advisor of player recruitment.

The eight members who were removed from the team's website included pro scouts Derek Booth, Greg Hawgood, Steve Leach, Michael Mottau, Allan Power and Tom Younghans, player development coach Derek Plante and Rockford IceHogs/European strength and conditioning coach Kristian Skarphagen.

Former Blackhawk Jordin Tootoo asks for context with racial team names

USA Today

Former Blackhawk Jordin Tootoo asks for context with racial team names

Former Blackhawks forward Jordin Tootoo shared a personal statement regarding the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos team name.

The statement comes in the middle of a national debate about whether sports teams should change offensive team names, like the Washington Redskins.

When sharing his thoughts as an Indigenous Canadian, Tootoo said that context for these team names is critical.

“We should all understand what the term (Eskimo) means to the Inuk people,” Tootoo said. “My father’s generation connects with this term to describe who they are. He would refer to himself as Eskimo. My generation refers to itself as Inuk.

“What is important to me is that people understand this. And, when referring to the Inuit people, they respect that we refer to ourselves today as Inuk.”

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But Tootoo goes on to explain he is only one person, that other Inuit people may think differently, and their thoughts and feelings should be considered as well.

“I understand there are names of sports teams that bring back feelings of oppression for people and I can see why those names should be changed.

“So, this makes me ask the question, does the term Eskimo for the Edmonton franchise bring back feelings of oppression for Inuk people? For me, it does not. That is NOT a reason to keep the name. There could be others for whom it does create those feelings. But for me, it does not.”

For Tootoo the history of how the team landed on the name “Eskimos” makes all the difference.

“I encourage the Franchise to explain why they chose the name Eskimos in the first place. Was it racially charged, or, was it because of admiration for the ability of the Eskmos to thrive in cold climates, for their mental and physical toughness and for their resilience?

“My point is that context really does matter. And, they need to be honest with themselves and with the public. Truth goes a long way.”

In the end, Tootoo again emphasizes he is only one person, and cannot speak for all Inuk people.

"I think the discussion should be around how the Inuk people feel about it. Some might feel pride. Some might feel hurt. Either way, that is the group that should be consulted."

Tootoo was applauded on Twitter for his measured response, with some calling for this to be a template of future discourse.

On Wednesday, the Blackhawks provided the exact context Tootoo asked for in regards to their team name and mascot.

“The Chicago Blackhawks name and logo symbolizes an important and historic person, Black Hawk of Illinois’ Sac & Fox Nation, whose leadership and life has inspired generations of Native Americans, veterans and the public,” the Blackhawks said.

“We celebrate Black Hawk’s legacy by offering ongoing reverent examples of Native American culture, traditions and contributions, providing a platform for genuine dialogue with local and national Native American groups. As the team’s popularity grew over the past decade, so did that platform and our work with these important organizations.

“We will continue to serve as stewards of our name and identity, and will do so with a commitment to evolve. Our endeavors in this area have been sincere and multi-faceted, and the path forward will draw on that experience to grow as an organization and expand our efforts.”

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