How NHL teams are approaching Phase 2 of return-to-play protocol

Elliotte Friedman breaks down the phases of return to the NHL playoffs, how the format compares to other sports, and potential problems that might still arise.

Phase 2 of the NHL’s return-to-play protocol officially begins Monday, with clubs now permitted to re-open their training facilities to players for small-group on-ice sessions and workouts.

Players returning to the ice will do so on a voluntary basis, in groups of no more than six players at a time, and will be tested prior to entering and regularly throughout Phase 2, with teams and staff also strictly monitoring for any symptoms. Team staff will also be limited, and coaches will not be allowed on the ice with players.

Teams were permitted to begin testing and preparing players in advance of the second phase opening as of June 4, but are not required to re-open facilities at this time.

The NHL released its detailed Phase 2 plan on May 25. The league has been on hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic since March 12, with players in self-isolation as directed by the league during Phase 1. Phase 3, which is the opening of training camps, will begin no earlier than July 10. The fourth and final phase will be the return of competition in a 24-team playoff format. No formal date has been set.

Here’s a running list of how teams are approaching Phase 2, which we’ll continue to update throughout the day and week as we learn more:

Arizona Coyotes
Re-opening: Thursday, June 11 (Gila River Arena)

Calgary Flames
Flames reporter Kristen Anderson is reporting that Calgary will take a few days still to put its Phase 2 protocols in place before re-opening.

Sportsnet’s Eric Francis says facilities will be opening Wednesday or Thursday:

Carolina Hurricanes
The Hurricanes will reportedly delay the re-opening of their training facilities.

Colorado Avalanche
Mike Chambers of The Denver Post has reported that the Avalanche won’t have organized group skates until later in the week.

Columbus Blue Jackets
According to Brian Hedger of The Columbus Dispatch, players who want to begin skating in small groups are being tested for Coronavirus Monday. Players still rehabbing injuries who have already been skating on their own will also undergo testing.

Edmonton Oilers
Re-opening: Monday, June 8 (Rogers Place)
The Oilers were one of the first clubs to announce their return. Edmonton is one of 10 potential hub cities under consideration to host the NHL’s playoffs upon a return to play.

Minnesota Wild
According to The Athletic‘s Michael Russo, it could still be a little while before players are skating at TRIA Rink. The club might also accommodate Minnesota-based, non-Wild players.

Montreal Canadiens
Groupe CH VP of communications Paul Wilson provided the following statement:

“At the moment, we only have two players in the ​​Montreal area who are currently training off-ice. Given the quarantine rules in effect in Canada, players from outside the country prefer to stay in their local areas to train. Regarding the Complex, we are taking advantage of the current situation to do maintenance work on the ice surface. So, there is currently no ice but as soon as a player let us know he want to start training on-ice, the maintenance work will stop and the ice will be ready within 72 hours.”

New York Islanders
Re-opening: Monday, June 8 (Northwell Health Ice Center)
“We will be ready to open up on Monday,” Islanders president and GM Lou Lamoriello said, via the team’s website. “We have satisfied all the protocols, checked all the boxes with references to the facility, the medical part and the testing part of it. We are ready. As far as how many players will be coming or when they will start, I could not give that answer yet. We will make it available to the players.”

Philadelphia Flyers
Re-opening: Monday, June 8 (Virtua Center Flyers Skate Zone)

Pittsburgh Penguins
Re-opening: Tuesday, June 9 (UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex)

St. Louis Blues
According to Blues reporter Jeremy Rutherford, the club is delaying its own Phase 2.

Tampa Bay Lightning
Re-opening: Monday, June 8

Toronto Maple Leafs
Sportsnet’s Luke Fox reported on Friday that the club was testing players quarantined in Toronto for COVID-19 on Friday, and that small-group workouts for those testing negative will commence at Ford Performance Centre at some point this week.

Per Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas, 13 players stayed in the Toronto area throughout Phase 1 — including Mitch Marner, Zach Hyman, Jake Muzzin and Kyle Clifford. A handful of players crossed the border and are now in their mandatory 14-day quarantine in Canada, while those still overseas or in the U.S. are continuing to train at home.

Vancouver Canucks
As reported by Sportsnet’s Iain MacIntyre on Friday, the Canucks won’t be re-opening facilities just yet as only three players remained in Vancouver through Phase 1.

Vegas Golden Knights
Re-opening: Monday, June 8 (City National Arena)

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