Holy Moly it’s an August Open Thread!

First, welcome to what is now the eighth month of 2020. Amazing to think how this year has been going on for decades, but here we are. The good news is that we finally have meaningful hockey to discuss... ALL DAY!

Here’s what’s on tap for today’s games. We’ll use this as an open thread for today’s games.

NY Rangers (11) at Carolina Hurricanes (6)
Scotiabank Arena, Toronto
Best of 5: Series tied 0-0

Time: 12:00pm ET

Team Sites: Blueshirt Banter, Canes Country

All of the play-in series will be heavily influenced by who starts faster, but this one might be one with the single most capacity for variance. If Panarin, Zibanejad and [goaltender] can start strong, the Hurricanes’ more-balanced team will have their hands full, but aside from a guy who earned a nickname for a game that this series won’t even go to, the Hurricanes are relatively young. This one should be good.

Chicago Blackhawks (12) at Edmonton Oilers (5)
Rogers Place, Edmonton
Best of 5: Series tied 0-0

Time: 3:00pm ET

Team Sites: Second City Hockey, Copper & Blue

The Hawks stink, but again this is a short tourney and they’re not exactly up against a consistent juggernaut. Chicago has top end talent and also [guy] who I’m told is an actual NHL player, but I’ll be hard pressed to believe that he’s existed before today. If you told me that half of the guys on the Hawks’ roster were just in witness protection inside the bubble I’d believe you. On the Edmonton side, their top-end talent is better, but has way less to show for it. There’s a big mental aspect to that at play.

Florida Panthers (10) at New York Islanders (7)
Scotiabank Arena, Toronto
Best of 5: Series tied 0-0

Time: 4:00pm ET

Team Sites: Litter Box Cats, Lighthouse Hockey

I’m going to level with you and let you know that I’m struggling to figure out this matchup because most of the names I can remember are on Florida’s roster, but I do believe the Isles are the better team. I think Sergei Bobrovsky is going to end up either the hero or the goat for this series.

Montreal Canadiens (12) at Pittsburgh Penguins (5)
Scotiabank Arena, Toronto
Best of 5: Series tied 0-0

Time: 8:00pm ET

Team Sites: Habs Eyes on the Prize, Pensburgh

There may come a time where I stop reminding everybody that the Montreal Canadiens were swept in the regular season series against the 2019-20 Detroit Red Wings, but that is not this day. 0 and 4 against a team that never got the chance to see if they could catch up to the worst team in the cap era. Oh my. Even then, I would only be rooting against them if only to make sure Pittsburgh doesn’t end up with another gifted #1 overall pick.

Winnipeg Jets (12) at Calgary Flames (8)
Rogers Place, Edmonton
Best of 5: Series tied 0-0

Time: 10:30pm ET

Team Sites: Arctic Ice Hockey, Matchsticks & Gasoline

The story here is likely going to be Calgary’s scorers against Winnipeg’s goaltending, but this one could be tight. It’s not like the Jets don’t have anybody who can put pucks in the net. I’m going to enjoy watching Calgary play home games in the Oilers’ arena and maybe stinking up their locker room. Hopefully the Jets won’t have to walk home.