Life in the bubble is hard for everyone, which means things could get pretty weird in Orlando, Toronto and Edmonton over the next few months. The NHL and NBA are in it for the long haul when it comes to their bubble leagues, with the playoff picture in both leagues just getting settled over the next few days. Which perhaps makes what the NHL did on Sunday to thank its “fans” a bit more concerning when put in that context.
The big narrative out of hockey’s two bubble cities was all the Settlers of Catan players hoped to get in while they didn’t do much outside of eat and play hockey, and maybe that confinement is one reason for a very silly joke that happened on Sunday during NBC’s broadcast of a game between the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues. A graphic that read “THANK YOU FANS” appeared on the video board above the ice, while a narration from the National Hockey League thanked “fans” for all their support during the league’s return in the bubble.
The NHL is doing a pretty good job of steering into the weirdness pic.twitter.com/mXVMb74o1b
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) August 9, 2020
“The National Hockey League thanks ALL of their fans for their support during the NHL’s return to play,” the narration read while the camera panned to the seats in the arena, empty save for four standing fans positioned there as mechanical spectators.
It’s a really strong visual joke right out of the old British shows Adult Swim used to air at 3 a.m.
the 'look around you' reboot looks awesome pic.twitter.com/Hhcm0PFnPU
— ryan nagelhout (@ryannagelhout) August 9, 2020
It’s the kind of perfect dry humor that we need to get through this thing. So thank you, hockey. Thockey.