Life in the NHL hubs is in full-swing now, with 24 teams settled into their new digs in Edmonton and Toronto and readying themselves for what they all hope will be a long post-season run.
Here’s what we’re learning about life in the bubbles on Thursday:
Hurricanes hoping to be crowned Kings in the North
So far, this bubble-hockey setup has brought us some pretty jarring images of made-over locker rooms for visiting “home teams.” (Will we ever grow accustomed to seeing Leafs logos lurking in the background of the Montreal Canadiens’ setup, or the bold orange and blue hidden beneath the Flames’ C of red? No. But it’s made some pretty weirdly wonderful 2020 photo ops so far.)
On Wednesday night, the Carolina Hurricanes temporarily took over the Toronto Raptors’ digs ahead of their exhibition matchup versus the Washington Capitals. Forward Jordan Martinook gave us a first-hand glimpse inside their circular setup in a video released Thursday morning:
The colour scheme certainly fits. And, while they lost their contest against the Capitals, maybe there’s some Champion magic leftover for a post-season run.
Speaking of Carolina in The Six…
Maybe the Carolina Panthers really are here, after all…
Earlier this week, Hurricanes forward Justin Williams tweeted out this photo of the… Carolina Panthers…?
— Justin Williams (@JustinWilliams) July 28, 2020
Turns out, maybe the Panthers’ placement in The Six wasn’t so far off after all. The NFL’s Panthers had some fun with it upon their star running back, Christian McCaffrey, being named the sixth best player of 2020.
Views from thepic.twitter.com/0uM9FcqxDB
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) July 30, 2020
The Hurricanes weren’t the only ones channeling their inner Champs:
— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) July 30, 2020
What happens to pucks that land in the stands?
If you’ve been watching baseball this past week, you’ve probably wondered at least once about what happens to the home run balls that land in the stands. With no fans there clamouring to claim them triumphantly, it’s a pretty lonely sight to see the baseballs just… sit there. Hockey’s got a similar problem, with pucks flying out of play and no one in the stands to chase them down. NHL.com writer Nick Cotsonika looked into it, and discoverd the league’s solution: a long swimming pool skimmer, purchased last-minute by a runner who dashed out for a Canadian Tire run, and a staff member now known as the “pool boy.”
The long-handled skimmer allows someone to be able to reach pucks that land on the NHL-branded seat covers, usually during warm-ups when the most pucks go flying.
One of many clever make-shift Bubble Life solutions, most likely.
Blues offer inside access with cool hub tour
Ashali Vise of Blue Note Productions took Blues fans on a comprehensive tour of the Edmonton bubble. It’s an interesting glimpse into hub city life:
Blackhawks hoping to go the distance
It’s a long journey to win the Stanley Cup… a really long journey:
Teams show appreciation for staff keeping everyone safe
From daily testing to constant sanitizing of all surfaces — including bench areas, nets and other game surfaces between periods — there are so many people behind the scenes working really hard to keep everyone safe and healthy.
Thank you to the ice crew and cleaning staff that kept the rink well sanitized throughout our game last night! pic.twitter.com/meM2buAmhV
— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) July 30, 2020
Hub for a rest
All that time at home wasn’t exactly restful for players with young kids — just ask Braden Holtby, father of two:
Fanless experience ‘seemed like a normal game’
Holtby also shared his biggest takeaway following the Capitals’ exhibition game Wednesday.
It’ll be interesting to see if other goalies have a similar experience.