The NHL Begins Phase Two
Monday was the beginning of NHL phase 2 in the attempt to return to play. Only one major team took to the ice today and it was the Edmonton Oilers. Three NHL players and two AHL players laced up the skates.
Chris Russell, Matt Benning, Alex Chiasson, Tyler Benson, and goaltender Stuart Skinner were the first to suit up at Rogers Arena in Edmonton.
The NHL released a 21-page document that was sent to all 31 teams outlining the procedures necessary for phase 2. Players will be mandated to pass a pre-participation medical which involves being tested for the coronavirus. There will also be daily temperature checks before having access to the arena, they are required to follow standard social distance procedures in the dressing room, wear a face covering when not involved in physical exercise, and were even told to sing happy birthday twice.
Phase 2 is not mandatory for players to attend and it is looking like a majority will stay where they are until phase 3, which is training camp. The major issue here is the Canada/US border being restricted to non-essential travel and the mandatory 14 day quarantine period. Most players are either in the US, Canada, and some have even flown back to Europe.
Another major rule for phase 2 is that players have to stay in the same group for the whole duration of the phase. No player is allowed to swap or skate with other players which is also a big factor for most players who would like to skate with their linemates and get back that chemistry.
Phase 3 training camp if everything goes according to plan should begin mid-July.