Hockey is back – the NHL will restart soon
Hockey is back to North America after five months of halt due to pandemic. The NHL is ready to return with matches in Edmonton and Toronto. Discover with us everything there is to know!
Is the NHL back to stay?
That’s the question on everyone’s mind – what if there’s a new halt? NHL, after all, is still attempting to play games during a global pandemic. Players are back in Toronto and Edmonton and most of these are back from the USA – a country where cases continue to rise. At what point should the season stop if there is a second wave or an outbreak among players and staff?
Still, the NHL announced on Monday that no player had tested positive for coronavirus. From now on, everyone inside the bubbles will be tested via nasal swab. If players test positive, the asymptomatic will be isolated until two negative tests are returned in a 48-hour period or after 10 days. Symptomatic positives can return after 72 hours without symptoms as well as 10 days in isolation.
Hub cities for NHL
In Toronto, the top five seed stay at Hotel X, while the rest sojourn at Fairmont Royal York. Scotiabank Arena and BMO Field are ready for player use. In Edmonton, the top teams are at the JW Marriott, connecting to the arena.
Nonetheless, players aren’t allowed to mingle in other rooms. Masks must be worn at all times. Moreover, their families can join for the final two rounds taking place in Edmonton.
What’s for Canadian teams?
Ottawa is the only Canadian team to miss qualifiers – while Montreal snuck in at 12th. There is an all-Canadian matchup between the Calgary Flames and the Winnipeg Jets, who are both undergoing a disappointing season. The Edmonton Oilers are set to take on 12th-seeded Chicago.
The new NHL format unfortunately robbed us of the Battle of Alberta. The Toronto Maple Leafs have a date with the Columbus Blue Jackets which upset Tampa Bay just last year.
Will good hockey still be good?
This is the second question on everyone’s mind! And yet this is the most unanswerable question of all. Four and a half months can mean just so much for athletes. Many will scrutinise player fitness and concentration. Also, there’s no telling if teams that were over performing will keep on track – or if we will see more upsets given the sporadic and uncertain nature of the game due to circumstances. In Europe, soccer restarted with quite a few surprises. Fans might well be expecting some on this side of the pond too.