The NHL has a real opportunity here. One that would simply be a shame to miss out on. They have the chance to have fun with the unique circumstances they are operating in with a global pandemic and tap into the old and noble game of bubble hockey. The NHL should call the playoffs the Bubble Hockey Playoffs.
Bubble Hockey is a basement game that was common in households years ago. The NHL playoff bubble is a preventative measure to try and keep the players in a contained area where they have no interaction with anyone outside of others in the bubble until the Conference Finals.
So why not have so fun with these weird circumstances and lean into the niche game of bubble hockey. These playoffs will be a bubble hockey tournament like no other.
- Instead of playing the anthems before games, each team should pick a theme song that they play instead.
- Personalized goal songs for each player.
- All refs make calls like Wes McCauley even with the arena being empty.
- All mascots attend every game and get all the jumbotron attention.
- A true bubble hockey tournament at the hotels where they run an elimination bracket within each team with the winners making regionals. Those players can play each other (fully masked of course) while their teammates cheer them on via a livestream.
- I have completely lost the plot now...
The NHL has this weird opportunity to truly have some fun because of the lack of fans. If they can embrace the weirdness, they might be able to bring hockey to new fans.