Hextall on Hockey: NHL return to play — so far, so good?

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (37) at practice during their NHL summer training camp as the NHL reopens during COVID-19 in Winnipeg, Tuesday, July 14, 2020. John Woods / The Canadian Press
The NHL confirmed Monday that two players tested positive for COVID-19 during the first week of training camps.

The players were not identified, as per the NHL’s policy, but it is confirmed they are self-isolating — which, technically, is what every NHL player, club personnel and family member should be doing at this time.

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Monday marked one week until NHL teams leave club facilities and travel to their respective hub cities where they will enter Phase 4’s secure zone — a.k.a. The Bubble.

This seven-day period is the most significant prior to puck drop, as the NHL does its best to identify and eliminate any source of the virus from entering its fragile ecosystem.

In preparation to travel to the secure zone, the players, club personnel and family members who plan to enter the bubble are currently adhering to strict protocols that involve pre-travel physical distancing and testing.

This includes a strong recommendation from the NHL to players and their families to limit exposure to non-family members during the pre-travel, seven-day period and to stay home as much as possible.
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In addition, testing ramps up.

The 52 people each competing team lists to travel to the hub city, as well as family members that will join them in the bubble, will be tested three times, 48 hours apart… just this week.

I truly don’t see a more pivotal time period for the NHL than this one week.

I’m not one who believes the virus won’t work its way into the bubble at some point,
but if all 24 teams adopt the on-ice philosophy of controlling what they can control as their focus, that’s the best chance the NHL has that the bubble might not burst.
Click to play video: 'Winnipeg Jets back at practice after 4 months off' Winnipeg Jets back at practice after 4 months off
Winnipeg Jets back at practice after 4 months off – Jul 13, 2020



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