NHL moving ahead in return to play plan

With the news last week that the Lightning had shut down their camp due to players testing positive for COVID-19, it was a welcome relief when the news came this week that both Lightning training facilities were back up and running.

With phase two in the NHL’s  plan to return to play, there are 12 players allowed on the ice at one time.

Most Lightning plays are in Tampa working out except for Victor hedman and Luke Schenn  who should be arriving shortly.

Phase three of the return to play will begin on July 10th with the official opening of training camp.  There will be two weeks of training camp in the home market before teams  jet off to their hub city.

As of Saturday, the location of the hub cities had been whittled down to five cities. Toronto, Edmonton, Las Vegas, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

Vancouver, Dallas and Pittsburgh were all eliminated the last couple of days and its looking like Las Vegas is one of the cities that is a lock to be a hub city.

Pierre Lebrun is reporting that the other host city may come down to either Toronto or Edmonton.

Edmonton has been putting on a full court press to become one of the hub vcities.

The league is looking to keep all teams in the same time zone . So It’s looking better for Edmonton, a city that could receive the nod over Toronto as a host city.

Teams will be reporting to their hub cities on July 23rd and 24th and play one exhibition game, before the playoffs begin on July 30th.

The top four teams in conference will play a round robin tournament to begin seeding. The teams ranked 5-12 in each conference will begin their playoff series immediately.

The players will be tested for COVID-19 every day when the league does resume play.

Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly Said that “We will have a rigorous daily testing protocol where players are tested every evening and those results are obtained before they would leave their hotel rooms the next morning, so we’ll know if we have a positive test and whether the player has to self-quarantine himself as a result of that positive test,”

It is somewhat of a concern as the COVID-19 cases rise here in the US. But as long as there is no major setbacks and the country does not shut down, We should see playoff hockey by the end of July.

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