George Floyd and a vote against racism in any form
From its very beginning, Canes and Coffee has with incredible consistency been solely focused on Carolina Hurricanes hockey. Both the site and the Twitter handle have stayed the course of being a reprieve from the problems and contentious issues in our world. I challenge any of the long-time readers to count more than a handful of digressions into social issues, politics or anything else that was not related to Canes hockey.
In general, that will not change. Social, political and other world topics will not become a regular entry here. That is not because those issues are not important but rather because that is not what this site is for.
But with my wife out of town and my kids mostly occupied with their own stuff, I spent a significant part of my weekend thinking about the George Floyd murder and the resulting chaos that has unfolded over the weekend across our country. Though it is off-topic for this site, I feel personally compelled to say something because I feel like we all have a role to play in building a better world. Per my comments below, increasingly not saying anything actually says something too.
In very simple terms, racism in any form is wrong.
Though it is not pleasant to consider, the volume and effects of racism are much more significant than those of us who are white and privileged care to recognize especially if we do not wish to spend time being troubled with something that does not too often affect us directly.
If there has been progress made on the racism front (which is debatable) over the many decades this battle has been fought, it is negligible and not nearly enough.
And maybe most significantly, I have come to painfully understand that ‘the quiet good’ as I consider myself have been enablers of this societal problem. It simply is not enough to not be racist. I personally and I think many others have failed this cause not by being racist but rather by not doing enough and not being emphatic opponents of racism and playing a meaningful role in eliminating it.
It is not my place to tell others how to process everything in these complex situations, but I challenge everyone who is so inclined to candidly ask themselves what their role could/should be in making our world a better place free of racism. Then even more significantly, I challenge you to push yourself to act on this consistently long after this weekend fades into the past.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
Questions on Canes and Coffee’s COVID-19 hiatus
In the nearly five years since launching Canes and Coffee, the site has been a 5-7 day per week source of Canes hockey articles. Even the short summer breaks generally saw the site active with articles that had been written in advance and even the slowest dog days of late July and early August found something to write about and bandy about in the coffee shop. My longest complete break prior to now was something between seven and ten days during the off-season.
So based on the hiatus that has been more than two months since mid-March when COVID-19 rocked our world, I have received a variety of inquiries about when Canes and Coffee would return or if it would be one of the things that never made it back post-pandemic.
The long-term for the site never changed. I wrote a few articles trying to offer a break from our world’s struggles in mid-March. As much as I love Canes hockey and needed diversions, it just felt empty at the time. With a daily commitment for my Daily Cup of Joe article, I do occasionally have to write late night articles that are forced, but for me personally this was a bigger ‘what is the point right now’ feeling.
For anyone who could have used more Canes hockey to get through challenging times, I apologize. I just could not do it.
That feeling did end some time ago as we have moved slowly toward a new version of normal that still has its scary parts. I had half-written articles ready to go in late April, but in considering that when hockey restarts, it could run 12-14 months, I opted for a longer break to recharge a bit more before launching into post-COVID-19 Canes and Coffee.
So fully recharged and chomping at the bit even, regular coverage restarts today. I am not sure if I will immediately get back to 5-7 per days per week coverage, but the lights are back on, The Coffee Shop will be open to meet up with old friends and the site will be pretty much what regular readers have come to expect over the years.
Finally, Canes hockey
With the NHL taking at least initial steps toward restarting the 2019-20 season with 24-team version of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, there are suddenly a number of possible topics. Rather than jumping straight into the first-round match up against the New York Rangers, I will instead use this first post to consider the quirky situation with the 2020 NHL draft and its interesting impact on the Carolina Hurricanes.
The basics of how it works
The addition of eight teams to the playoffs combined with the decision to include the eight first-round playoff losers in the lottery process makes for a complicated process and some really really strange possibilities.
For those who want to catch up on all of the details, Greg Wyshynski from ESPN detailed the process HERE.
The first lottery (see below for why there could be two) will occur on June 26. That lottery will draw for the top three picks and include the seven teams not in the playoffs and also eight mystery team balls to represent the eight teams that lose later in the first round of the playoffs. If the three top picks go to teams not in the playoffs, the lottery process will be over and the remaining non-playoff teams and eight first-round losers will slot into the first 15 places in the 2020 NHL Draft. But if one of more of the eight to-be-determined first-round playoff losers win top three picks, things get interesting. That would prompt a second lottery once the eight first-round losers are determined with each having an equal 12.5 percent chance of winning the lottery pick (if it is only one). If by long odds, two of the top three picks are won by first-round losers, the chance of winning a top three pick by losing in the first-round jumps to a pretty high 25 percent.
So with the first lottery before the start of the playoffs, the potential exists for the first-round teams to be playing for a small but not insignificant chance to win an elite player in the 2020 NHL Draft if they lose.
So this format creates interesting possibilities for all of the teams in the first of the playoffs if they lose with the Hurricanes being included in that group.
Even bigger implications for the Hurricanes
The intricacies of the potential two-stage draft lottery has even bigger implications for the Carolina Hurricanes.
From the trade to acquire and buy out Patrick Marleau, the Hurricanes are due to receive the Toronto Maple Leafs 2020 first-round draft pick, but only if it does not land in the top 10.
In addition, for acquiring Brady Skjei, the Hurricanes must send a 2020 first-round draft pick to the New York Rangers. The Hurricanes have some protection in that the pick due to the Rangers can be the lower of the Canes’ two draft picks. But that only comes into play if the Hurricanes do receive the Maple Leafs pick. If not, the Hurricanes will be required to send their own draft pick to the Rangers regardless of what number it is.
If the Hurricanes or Maple Leafs win in the first-round, it mostly becomes a non-issue. The Hurricanes will have send a mid/late 2020 first-round pick to the Rangers which is about what they were expecting to do when making the trade.
The the situation does have the potential, even if small, to turn very bad. If the Hurricanes and Maple Leafs both lose in the first-round, the potential exists for the Hurricanes to win and then have to give up a top 3 draft pick. For that to happen would require the Maple Leafs to lose and then gain a top 10 pick. That could happen either by winning the lottery or finishing low enough against the losing teams to land in the top 10 from seeding. If that happens, the Hurricanes pick owed from the Maple Leafs will become a 2021 draft pick. Then, if the Hurricanes also lose and win a top three pick in the draft lottery, the Hurricanes would be required to give it to the Rangers because it would be the only pick the Canes had.
What are the chances that this happens?
In short, very small. For this to come into play, both the Hurricanes and Maple Leafs must lose. If you consider each series roughly a 50/50 event given the uncertainty, the odds of both teams losing is roughly 25 percent. Then for it to really matter, one of the eight playoff losers must actually win a top three pick. The chances of that are also small. So at this point, the chance of both the Leafs and Canes losing and being in the mix for a confirmed top three pick is roughly 5 percent. Then the chance of either the Canes or Leafs being the winner out of eight teams is 25 percent, so that pushes the total odds down to about 1 percent. Finally, either both the Leafs and Canes must win a top three pick (tiny chance) or the Canes must win a top three pick at the same time that the Leafs pick lands in the top 10 and gets taken away.
So what should Canes’ fans root for?
If the Hurricanes lose, it makes sense to root for the Maple Leafs to win. In that scenario, the Hurricanes get the small lottery chance and also an earlier draft pick. But coupled with a Leafs win, that pick is protected by the fact that the Leafs’ pick will definitely be outside the top 10, therefore be gained by the Hurricanes and be the pick that the Hurricanes send to the Rangers. It is also possible for the Maple Leafs to lose and still provide the needed pick if they do not win the lottery and have three other first-round losers slot above them either from winning the lottery or having a lower regular season record. In such a case, the Maple Leafs pick would fall to #10 or later and enable the Hurricanes to send that to the Rangers and keep their own pick.
If the Hurricanes win in the first round, it mostly becomes a non-issue. The Hurricanes would have a bottom 15 pick to ship to the Rangers. Best probably is to then hope that the Maple Leafs lose but do not win the lottery. Further, the Canes would need to root for up to three first-round losers to have lower records than the Maple Leafs to boost the Leafs pick to #10 or later even with the first-round loss.
What say you Canes fans?
1) Are you ready to start talking Canes hockey even though the playoffs, if they occur are still a ways off?
2) What do you make of the draft lottery situation? Can Waddell pull off another lottery ball heist like with Andrei Svechnikov?