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Quick Hits: The “Optimistic” Edition

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New Jersey Devils v Detroit Red Wings Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images

In Red Wings Land

Red Wings defensemen: Several blue line spots available - mlive.com

Nothing earth-shattering here. I don’t agree on everything, but nothing seems wrong enough for me to specifically point it out.

The Detroit Red Wings need help everywhere. But at least they have a core group of young to semi-young forwards with skill and scoring ability.

Defense is a bigger issue. It was a patchwork unit this season due to ineffectiveness and injuries.

It figures to be better in 2020-21, but with few proven NHL top-four defenders and no elite anchor, it remains the primary area of concern.

Detroit Red Wings revisited: Why Larry Murphy was the ‘move of moves’

Speaking of adding on defense, I had forgotten just how good a deal this was in terms of low-risk, high-reward.

On March 18, 1997, the Wings took advantage of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ house-cleaning and added the 36-year-old. He was the fourth-highest-scoring defenseman in NHL history, purged by the Leafs for his age and salary. The Wings didn’t have to part with a player or a draft pick; all they had to do was pick up the prorated portion of Murphy’s $2.35 million salary for the 1996-97 season, and a portion of the following season’s $2.475 million salary.

Around the NHL

Gary Bettman optimistic NHL season will not be canceled due to coronavirus - Sports Illustrated

On the one hand, I get that it’s his just to promote optimism. At the same time, he should absolutely be “contemplating” cancelling the season. They absolutely need to be planning for all outcomes. This is one of those cases in which I’m pretty sure that he’s exaggerating to keep people from getting upset.

In a virtual town hall hosted by the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday, Bettman ensured that he still plans to crown a champion this year and that going without one is “not something I’m even contemplating.”

“I believe that if the right time comes, and the right circumstances, based on all of the options that we’re considering and our ability to execute them, we’ll get this season done,” Bettman said. “I don’t want to sound Pollyanna, but canceling is too easy a solution. That means you stop working hard to do all of the things that we’re doing, and I ultimately believe that there will be an opportunity.”