The Colorado Avalanche may soon be able to start small practices. They’ll know more in the next couple weeks.
The Colorado Avalanche are 60 days into the NHL-mandated pause because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of the players are in their home cities practicing some version of self-isolation, though it looks pretty relaxed in some cases.
Meanwhile, the NHL in conjunction with the NHLPA, has been working out countless scenarios to resume the season and award the Stanley Cup this summer or early fall.
The self-isolation phase with the NHL shut down is Phase 1 of handling the pandemic. Phase 2 will see players get back together.
According to TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger, the league may be just a couple weeks out from
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deciding when and how Phase 2 will begin. Here’s what Dreger said of what it would look like:
"“It’s small gathering stuff. It’s social distancing. It’s scheduled shifts when players are allowed to return to their home clubs. It’s small dedicated team staff working on training and what not. It’s strict sanitization protocol.”"
At this phase, it doesn’t look like mass testing is on the docket, but it may still be required. Unfortunately for the NHL over some of the other leagues, such as the NBA, many of the players returned to their home countries during the pause. Sweden has done little in response to the pandemic, and Russia has seen its COVID-19 cases surge. Those two countries house a lot of NHLers. And that could be a fly in the ointment.
Concerning the Colorado Avalanche, our Swedish captain, Gabriel Landeskog, did not return to Sweden. Winger Andre Burakovsky did. Of our Russians, defenseman Nikita Zadorov did not, I’m not sure about Valeri Nichuskin or Vladislav Namestnikov, but Vladislav Kamenev did.
Over in Arizona, their governor, Doug Ducey, stated that professional sports could resume in the state starting this Saturday, May 16. They’d have to play with no fans, but that still seems a little soon to me.
That said, I’m sure they’re looking with dollar signs at the situation. According to Avs insider Adrian Dater, Arizona is emerging as a frontrunner to be a hub city for NHL playoffs. Sure, there’d be no fans in the buildings, but all the players and staff have to be housed in nearby hotels and eat from nearby restaurants, so that would be a lot of revenue.
There has been no new word on holding the draft in June — GMs pushed back pretty hard at the suggestion. However, the Hall of Fame selection committee is going to meet virtually June 23 and 24 to decide who the draft class will be. They’ll wait for the induction ceremony, though, until fans can attend.
Everyone has their opinions about whether the NHL can resume their season. People also have strong opinions about whether they should. I’ve always fallen into “yes” on both categories. What can I say, I think some Colorado Avalanche hockey would be good for the soul.
And I had to return to work (working with the public). Why shouldn’t they?