The NHL Return to Play Phase 2 will begin on Monday, and the Pittsburgh Penguins will open their UPMC Lemieux practice facility to players on Tuesday for the voluntary workouts (off and on-ice) of six players or less. Players can skate and workout without coaches and with limited team staff available.
Phase 2 will last until at least July 10, which is the earliest the NHL Return to Play Phase 3 can begin. Phase 3 is a training camp. The NHL agreement requires teams to help players relocate back to their hockey city, and organizations will house players who do not maintain a permanent residence, including AHL players, in hotels, separately.
The NHL is making alternate arrangements with teams where practice facilities cannot open.
Players who are participating in Phase 2 have gone through testing and education of best practices. As part of Phase 2, the NHL teams will test their players at least twice weekly.
The Penguins announced on Thursday one of their players, who is not in Pittsburgh, tested positive for COVID-19. The unnamed player is feeling well.
Penguins alternate captain Kris Letang, who is one of only three remaining Pittsburgh Penguins who have been a part of all three Stanley Cup championships in the 21st century, said during a video chat last month that he wanted to be part of first day activities. It would be “exciting,” he said.
We can also assume Penguins captain Sidney Crosby will be part of the first activities. Evgeni Malkin posted a social media photo of himself traveling back to Pittsburgh on Friday.
But who else will skate on Tuesday?
PHN will dish free PHN+ subscriptions to any readers who can accurately guess all six. List your guesses in the comments below. We’ve received some messages from amused fans who have spotted players in public, and we have a rough idea of which players are back in Pittsburgh. So, as to not taint the pool, we’ll avoid guessing beyond the top three above.
The NHL guidelines prohibit fans and media on the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex property, so we’ll rely on the team and player’s social media accounts to let us know which players took the ice first.
Leave your guesses in the comments below.