The NHL return is spotless. As Major League Baseball struggles with positive tests that could prematurely end the baseball season, the National Hockey League announced a clean slate heading for Phase 4 games which begin this week. The league protocols are working and most, if not all, players are now taking the necessary precautions against COVID-19.
After more than 4200 administered tests between July 18-15, the NHL reported zero positive tests in that time.
There have been only two positive tests since July 13.
Per NHL policy, the league does not release names or even teams of positive players, but in this instance, there is nothing to report. And isn’t that the best news hockey fans have heard in a long, long time?
The NHL players and team personnel arrived in the Toronto and Edmonton bubble cities on Sunday. The teams got acclimated to their bubble-city life, which will be their home for up to 10 weeks as they will compete for the 2020 Stanley Cup.
Earlier on Monday, NBC announced the broadcast details which will also include fake crowd noise from video game maker, EA Sports.
The Pittsburgh Penguins also announced their final 31-player “bubble city” roster, which included top defenseman prospect P-O Joseph.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now is one of the very few outlets in the United States to cover the games from the hub cities. Our Colorado Hockey Now sister site is quarantined in Edmonton in advance of the Western Conference games, while PHN is quarantined in Toronto ahead of the Eastern Conference games.
According to the Boston Globe, we comprise two of the five U.S. journalists who made the trip to cover the NHL return in-person.
*From the NHL Release:
During the two-week period of Phase 3 there were a total of two positive tests (both occurred during the period from July 13-17) among the 6,874 total tests. All 24 teams entered the secure zone in Edmonton and Toronto yesterday for the beginning of Phase 4 and each of the 52 members of the 24 teams (Players and Club staff) will be tested on a daily basis. The NHL will continue to provide regular updates on the number of tests administered to Players and the results of those tests. The League will not be providing information on the identity of the Players or Clubs.