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Volume 27 No. 10
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NHL Gets High Marks For Atmosphere, Quality Of Bubble Play

NHL has generated legitimate buzz during its restart despite no fans in attendance
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
NHL has generated legitimate buzz during its restart despite no fans in attendance
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
NHL has generated legitimate buzz during its restart despite no fans in attendance
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

The NHL so far has "delivered on virtually every imaginable level with its restart, and a couple that have been unimaginable," according to Ed Willes of the Vancouver PROVINCE. Willes: "The stars have starred. Storylines and drama abound." The hockey "has been compelling" and the postseason is "only four days in." The league "hasn't only filled a gaping void in the sports landscape, it's generated a legitimate buzz." Willes: "In August. Without fans in the building. With limited availability between the players and the media." The NHL has "upstaged its rivals and emerged as the winner in all this." It "got out in front of its restart and hasn't taken a backward step." The plan was "sound and has been endorsed by health officials on both sides of the border." Willes: "The players are fresh. The games are fast. The battles are ferocious." It is "all made for a great show and here's the best part: It's come at a time when hockey and its fans needed it most" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 8/5).

NEW PERSPECTIVES: In St. Louis, Jeff Gordon writes fans are "getting a splendid made-for-TV production," as hockey is proving to work "as a studio sport." The loss of fans in the stands is "offset by new camera angles that draw us into the fray." While fans "don't hear the buzz of the crowd between plays," they hear "more natural sounds of the sport." Gordon: "The stacking of games morning, afternoon and night ... whew! We have been able to binge-watch pucks day after day." One downside is that the "product is not perfect." The ice has "become choppy at the Toronto and Edmonton venues," and staging multiple games on the same sheet on the same summer day "cause conditions to deteriorate" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 8/5).

Check out the latest "SBJ Unpacks" podcast with NBC's Doc Emrick, who discusses all things NHL.