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Let’s Hope the Bubble Doesn’t Burst

July 26, 2020, 9:02 PM ET [317 Comments]
Karine Hains
Montreal Canadiens Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
I’ll admit, when they started talking about a return to play plan, I didn’t think they’d be able to pull it off... Right now though, things look pretty good for the NHL. The way they went about this seems to be the safest plan out there especially if you compare to Major League Baseball who has teams travelling from city to city and to the NFL which has announced that teams would be free to have fans in the stadium this upcoming season. Of course, they added that teams could make their own decisions and not have any fans or reduce their stadium capacity but considering that the situation looks far from under control in the USA right now, I can’t say this appears to be a good plan.

This morning, the Canadiens flew to Toronto just like the 10 other teams that will compete in the East (no I didn’t get my maths wrong, the Leafs are already in Toronto) while the 11 western conference teams joined the Oilers in Edmonton. The NHL has now released the rosters for every team and there are no surprised in the Habs line-up. Alexander Romanov is included even though all he’ll be allowed to do is practice with the team while Laurent Dauphin and Josh Brook are the two players who took part in Phase 3 but did not make the team.

Pictures of the players arriving in the two cities have started to surface on social media and some players got a nice surprise. Apparently, the league has taking it upon itself to put family pictures in the players’ rooms, a very nice touch which was appreciated by Matt Duchene and Ryan Johansen on Instagram. Meanwhile in Toronto, we saw that Matt Barzal is a guitar player and that Artemi Panarin definitely didn’t pack light.

All teams will be able to settle in tomorrow before the exhibition games kick off on Tuesday. We’ll have 3 games on tap then as the Pens will face the Flyers at 4 PM ET, the Leafs will take on the Habs at 8 PM ET and the Oilers will battle the Flames at 10:30 PM ET. While these may only be exhibition games, kudos to the NHL on setting up the match-ups because they are all rivalries and even though the battle of Alberta will start late, I don’t think I’ll be able to skip it. Wednesday will give us another healthy helping of hockey with the Bolts taking on the Panthers at 12:00 PM ET, the Avalanche playing the Wild at 14:30 ET, the Canes facing-off against the Caps at 4:00 PM ET, the Blues and the Hawks going at it at 6:30 PM ET, the New York teams duelling at 8:00 PM ET and the Canucks taking on the Jets at 10:30 PM ET. The exhibition games will wrap-up on Thursday with 3 games: Preds vs Stars at 4:00 PM ET, Bruins vs. Jackets at 7:00 PM ET and Golden Knights vs. Coyotes at 10:00 PM ET. After that, we’ll just have one more day to wait before we finally see the qualifying round.

If everything goes according to plan, we’ve got a lot of high quality hockey coming our way! We can only hope that the NHL’s plan works and that there isn’t an outbreak amongst the players. Just today, it was announced that there are Covid concerns for the Miami Marlins and the Cincinnati Reds. The Marlins delayed their return to Miami and should any player test positive, they will have to remain where they are (Philadelphia) and quarantine for 14 days.
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