John Tavares took his sticks home from the track in Toronto to tape them so he wouldn’t waste his limited time there.
Across the border, Andrew Copp is waiting in the United States before returning to Winnipeg to begin mandatory training camps due to Canada’s 14-day quarantine regulation due to the coronavirus pandemic.
NHL players could begin participating in small group volunteer practice, and teams began opening their training facilities on Monday. The players learned that Thursday’s training camps may open on July 10, pending an agreement to return to play later this summer. Now, players are expected to back off in preparation for the season’s restart.
“Obviously we have a lot of our guys here in the city and here at the facility, which is great,” said Tavares, the captain of the Maple Leafs. “We have a lot of guys who are still trying to resolve their situation, but obviously they have some very good setups and understand their importance in speeding things up.”
Going back to games will get the league and players to agree on health and safety tests and protocols in the midst of the pandemic. They have already signed in a 24-team playoff format, developed a protocol for initial practice and established a possible start for the camps.
Players began skating a few this week in places like Boston, Chicago, Toronto, Pittsburgh, Columbus and Edmonton, while some teams waited to open their doors. Veteran Nashville general manager David Poile said that while nearly a dozen players remained in the area, the NHL has instructed teams not to request or encourage players to come forward because this stage is voluntary.
GMs expect players to adjust on the road.
“Each situation will be different and unique depending on what they have available in the areas they are in,” said New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello. “It is no different than a normal training camp when some players come two weeks in advance because they don’t have the ice time in their area that maybe they can get here, and then other players will wait because they are training with a lot of players in the area where they are. “
There may be a higher volume of participation in places like Toronto, with more players naturally in the city. Sidney Crosby and some Penguins teammates are already on the ice at their sparkling practice track, and the Blue Jackets reported that eight or nine players skated daily in different groups.
Up to six players are allowed on the ice at one time with a coach. Tavares described the normality portion as “a breath of fresh air,” even when others in the league chose to stay home and skate alone.
“I’m not sure how much they can do together to get a lot out of it,” said Montreal captain Shea Weber. Who really knows, to be honest with you. There are so many uncertainties with everything that is happening, with everything that could be moving forward here. “
Now that there is a July 10 date to start the camps, there could soon be an avalanche of players tying up their skates and returning to their home cities. Canada requires anyone entering the country to be quarantined for two weeks, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the same for anyone returning to the US. USA
Commissioner Gary Bettman said 17% of the players are abroad. Many are in Sweden and as a result have been able to skate for several weeks.
“If a player returned to Finland and has been training and ready to go back and returns to Nashville and has to sit at home for 14 days, that kind of failure defeated the whole purpose of coming home in the first place,” Poile said.
Copp recently said from Michigan that he was considering moving to Florida to get his skating legs back, but that he would try to wait for the Canadian quarantine before trying to return to the Jets’ facility.
“I need to be on the ice,” said Copp. “We are building right now. I’ve been training off the ice and I feel like going back and sitting in my apartment for two weeks in a row in Winnipeg is not going to be good for me, mentally or physically. “