On June 8, Phase 2 of the NHL’s Return To Play plan began and players were allowed to return to their team training facilities to begin small group practices. Let’s check in and see how things are going.
- Yesterday we learned the Tampa Bay Lightning had to temporarily close down their training facility after multiple players and staff tested positive for COVID-19. [Raw Charge]
- Next, Steve Simmons (yeah, I know, it’s Steve Simmons, but ...) reported that two sources confirmed that Leafs forward Auston Matthews, who is training in Arizona, tested positive for the virus. [Toronto Sun]
- Followed by a statement from the Maple Leafs that they will not be making any public comment on reports surrounding testing for any players or staff. [TSN]
- Followed by a formal statement from the NHL:
NHL statement on Phase 2 testing. pic.twitter.com/2FBhgdbFsP— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) June 19, 2020
- As a reminder, on June 11 the NHL and NHLPA announced that Phase 3 (training camps) were targeted to begin July 10, subject to medical and safety conditions and successful agreement between the two parties on how play would resume.
- The Hurricanes were one of several teams that made the decision not to reopen team facilities at the beginning of Phase 2, allowing players to continue to train on their own. If you’re wondering how that’s going so far, here’s how head strength and conditioning coach Bill Burniston and head athletic trainer Doug Bennett are navigating the challenges, along with a player-by-player tracker. [The Athletic $]
On to other topics, and there’s plenty to read and listen to over the weekend ...
- Yesterday’s News Today: We recap the month of October, rate Brock McGinn’s season, and say goodbye to a good friend and colleague on the podcast.
- Construction continues on the Wake Competition Center and it remains on target to open this summer. A few Canes players recently visited their new practice facility and offered their input into the design and layout. [Canes.com]
- Digging in with Rod Brind’Amour, Tripp Tracy style. If you thought there was nothing Tripp didn’t already know about the head coach, think again. [Podcast]
- Making the rounds, Brind’Amour also joined Jon Cooper and Pete DeBoer on a coaches panel to discuss millennials, discipline and more. [The Athletic $]
- Seabass sighting!
- The Greenville Swamp Rabbits announced Andrew Lord has been hired as their new head coach. Lord has a storied hockey history and hails from the Cardiff Devils where he won six championships and was the winningest head coach in the team’s history. [Swamp Rabbits]
- Try to find someone in the hockey world who has a bad thing to say about Kevin Weekes (hint, you can’t). He also has a powerful voice and platform, and he’s not afraid to use either of them to try to change perceptions about racism in the sport. [The Athletic $]
- There’s no other way to intro this article other than to say it’s important but it also comes with a warning that the details described are graphic in nature and disturbing. Dan Carcillo and other former players have filed a lawsuit against the Canadian junior hockey leagues with allegations of sustained physical and mental abuse. [The Hockey News]
- Cap Court is in session and Down Goes Brown is analyzing bad contracts. Two familiar players are part of the investigation. [The Athletic $]
- Last but not least, in case you thought the news couldn’t possibly get any weirder today ... Is Detroit Red Wings great Pavel Datsyuk actually hunkered down with a rogue priest who is trying to take over a Russian monastery? [Detroit Free Press]
Enjoy your weekend. Watch out for Poop Plumes.