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Amid Injustice Protests, NHL Joins Other Leagues In Putting Off Playoff Games

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Associated Press

It began with the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks boycotting a playoff game Wednesday. Several teams in both basketball and baseball followed suit.

Now, the NHL has postponed the next two days of playoff games. 

The boycotts and postponements are in protest of the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. A white police officer shot Blake, who is Black, in the back. 

Ryan Reaves with the Vegas Golden Knights led the news conference from the players following the announcement Thursday.

Mitch Moss is the host of “Follow The Money” on V-SIN, the Vegas Stats and Information Network. 

“I get it with the Bucks obviously canceling their game or boycotting their game. Once they did that by the way, I was a mortal lock that other two NBA games going on that day were not going to be played,” Moss said.

He said he also understands why the Milwaukee Brewers would do the same thing. He does question other teams. 

“What truly does that accomplish? What is the real impact for those teams in different cities, tucked away in a bubble," he said, "What is that going to have for an effect or for an impact long term – for their overall goal is here?”

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Moss noted how divided people are on the issue. With some sports fans believing the boycotts will accomplish long term change and others believing it will do nothing. 

“I just wish people would be more willing to have an open mind with this and actually have a logical conversation rather than going so nuts one way or the other,” he said.

And as far as the owners are concerned, Moss also pointed out that NBA owners had already agreed to a plan to help address racial inequalities by giving money to Black communities.

Now, the boycotts and the attention they received have left a lot of people wondering what to do next, he said.

“They have to come up with this plan now over a 24 or 48 hour period of time when nobody basically has any more answers," Moss said, "The whole thing has just been not easy on anybody. Hopefully, we actually do see some change at some point because we don’t want any of this stuff to be going on.”

The NBA announced Friday it will return to playoff play Saturday. The league also announced it was creating a social justice coalition made up of players, coaches and owners that would focus on issues, like meaningful criminal justice and police reform.

When play does resume, Moss likes the Clippers in the Western Conference, and although the Bucks have been one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, he is concerned.

“I don’t like the way the Bucks have been playing defensively," he said, "And by the way, with this happening in Kenosha, and you’ve had George Hill, who has been very key members on the Bucks team all year long, he came out earlier this week before they boycotted and said, ‘I don’t even understand why we’re here. What’s the point.’ When you hear players talk like that and when you see them play as if they don’t want to be there and then it’s becoming six weeks. Here we go into two months playing in a bubble. It’s a lot on a team.”  

As for the NHL and the Vegas Golden Knights, the league will return Saturday with three games and three games again on Sunday.

Vegas and Vancouver will play Game 3 of their series at night in the West hub city of Edmonton, Alberta.

The postponements of four games have led the NHL to push back the potential completion of the second-round schedule by as many as two days should three of the series require a Game 7. 

Besides the postponement, the Knights have faced a number of distractions lately, including a tweet by Marc Andre Fleury's agent depicting the all-star goalie being stabbed in the back by Coach Peter DeBoer. 

“To me, it wasn’t a good look at all by the agent. Never should have happened,” Moss said.

Fleury had to defend his longtime agent and explain it to his team. The tweet was deleted. 

Las Vegas fans overwhelmingly want Fleury in at goal instead of Robin Lehner, Moss said.  

The team lost the second game to Vancouver, but Moss notes the goals scored by the Canucks were not all Lehner's fault. 

“First of all, the team came out as if they could show up with C-minus game and take care of Vancouver because they beat them 5-0. It was a total mismatch in game one,” he said.

Moss also said the Knight's defense was not there for Lehner in Game 2. 

“Distractions or not, they need to turn it back up and get ready for Game 3, because if they’re not going to take Vancouver seriously, they’re going to get beat,” he said.

(Editor's Note: The Associated Press contributed to this report)

Guests

Mitch Moss, host, Follow the Money on VSIN

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