The Pittsburgh Penguins could soon have a scheduled date to begin their NHL playoffs quest. According to a report from national hockey writer Larry Brooks in the New York Post, the NHL Qualifying Rounds and round-robin tournaments will begin on July 30.
Coronavirus permitting, of course. Read the full report in the Post, here.
Brooks said the information came from a directive sent to teams on Friday. The Post also reported the NHL plans to announce the NHL hub cities within the next week.
On Friday, coronavirus-related events forced the NHL to announce that 11 players of 200 who have been tested multiple times as part of Phase 2 activities have tested positive. The NHL admission followed the Tampa Bay Lightning mini-outbreak in which three players and two staff members tested positive, and the Tampa Bay facilities closed. Thus far, there have been no reported severe consequences from any professional athlete in any sport, including the more than dozen NHL players who have tested positive since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
One unnamed Pittsburgh Penguins player tested positive on the eve of Phase 2. The newly announced NHL policy will report when players test positive, but neither names nor teams will be announced.
Phase 3 training camps will begin on July 10. For the Pittsburgh Penguins, that means at the camp at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry Twp. Because Phase 2 is voluntary, players are to self-quarantine during the process but are free to live by local rules. d
Players will enter more rigid quarantine rules in the following phases.
Brooks also reported the current roster expectations for training camps are 30 skaters and unlimited goalies. Teams will be able to carry 28 skaters for the NHL playoffs, which means two players in training camp will not make the roster.
PHN advocated pushing Penguins 2019 first-round pick Sam Poulin, who was invited to Phase 2 workouts, into the lineup for Phase 4, unless he proves otherwise.