"It's exciting. I think we're still agreeing on some stuff but if we do get that chance to come back, I think everyone's excited to play hockey again," said Alex DeBrincat, who was one of a handful of players to take the ice in Chicago on Wednesday. "I know it's been a tough few months for a lot of us not being able to get on the ice or anything and to finally get back on the ice these past few days has been really fun for me."
"For them to come out with that solid date is really cool," added Connor Murphy speaking to reporters Thursday afternoon. "Even just from a training aspect to know your timeline of how to ramp up things and how to kind of gauge your training sessions ... just knowing that that isn't too far away is really exciting. I think we've all been sitting around for a long time, so to have a chance to get everyone back together and get competing again is a big bonus."
Unlike a traditional NHL offseason where players have been staking on their own and following a regimented offseason plan, most have been confined to their home gyms or limited resources around them to stay in shape. With nearly three months since most players last took the ice, there's still a long road to be prepared to not only play in an NHL game, but stepping right into a postseason game at that.
Regardless, progress is being made and it's a step for the many who have been patiently waiting it out since the final horn on March 11.
"It's a nice thing to hear, something to really work towards. I think we've all been wanting it, but obviously there's a process to work through," head coach Jeremy Colliton said. "You can start to kind of work backwards as far as the preparation that we'll want to do as coaches and obviously for the players and getting ready for that training camp and potentially playing, everyone's really excited about playing these types of games and we want to get there. That date, it's great to see it."