For the last several months, details that have emerged about the NHL's Return to Play plan have primarily focused on testing, player safety and the playoff format for the 24 teams that will participate.
But what exactly will life inside the bubble look like? What will games be like when fans aren't in attendance?
"This is going to be an unusual, to say the least, endeavor," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said during a presentation to players, coaches and team staff on Thursday. "It will be challenging at times, but I assure you we, in conjunction with the [NHL] Players' Association, who we work with every step of the way, are trying to do everything possible to make this an experience that hopefully you'll never forget, but in a good way."
Below are some answers to common questions about the start of hockey and life in the bubble:
When are the Blues headed to Edmonton?
The team will board a plane bound for Edmonton this Sunday and will spend their first night in the bubble on July 26.
If the players can't leave the bubble, what can they do to pass the time at the hotel?
Each team will have their own dedicated floor at the hotel that includes a player lounge with TVs, couches, video games, ping pong, card tables and more.
Are there any activities the players can do outside?
Yes! Players will have access to basketball courts and an open space for soccer within the bubble. After an initial quarantine period, the NHL has said there will be opportunities to leave the bubble to play golf on courses that will only be open to players, coaches and staff.
Video: Take a tour inside the bubble in Edmonton
What about other entertainment options?
We'd imagine the players will be enjoying a lot of video games in their hotel rooms (we're gonna go out on a limb and say the Fortnite competition will be fierce) - but the NHL has also promised there will be movie theatre options within the bubble, too!
What will the players do when they get hungry?
Team meals will be provided at the hotels on gamedays, but players will also have the option of eating at restaurants inside the hotel. In addition, the NHL has ensured that food trucks and pop-up restaurants will be available within the bubble. In Edmonton, there are expected to be a total of 14 restaurants, bars, pubs and food trucks for players to try that will open in the morning and remain open late into the night.
What about the hockey? Can players go watch the playoff games?
Designated areas within Rogers Place in Edmonton will be set up so each team can go watch other team's playoff games if they'd like.
What will the games be like without fans in attendance?
Playing without fans inside the arena is going to be strange, for sure, but the NHL has big plans for how to make things feel like home. The Blues have provided their own goal horn, goal song and even Take Me Home, Country Roads by John Denver to give Rogers Place a hometown feel. Chances are you might see a video of Towel Man counting down goals for games designated as Blues home games, too!
One thing to note: the NHL says a toned-down version of the full experience will be used for the exhibition games. On Aug. 2 when the Blues meet the Colorado Avalanche, though, it's game on!
Will there be crowd noise?
Yes! The NHL plans to use crowd sound effects from EA Sports' NHL 20 at appropriate times during games. In addition, videos from Blues fans will be featured throughout the games to make sure the fans in St. Louis are represented during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
What will the game look like on TV?
The NHL will use 32 cameras to cover the games on TV - that's 12 more than usual. Because the League won't have to worry about blocking the view of the fans in the stands, cameras can be placed in areas where they haven't been placed before, guaranteeing angles of the game that you couldn't get anywhere else. Players will be mic'd up for each game, too!
FOX Sports Midwest will air the exhibition game on July 29 against the Chicago Blackhawks and all three of the round robin games (Aug. 2 at Colorado, Aug. 6 vs. Vegas and Aug. 9 vs. Dallas). John Kelly and Darren Pang will provide commentary live from St. Louis, while Chris Kerber and Joey Vitale will call the action for every game on 101 ESPN.
Broadcast information for the games after the round robin will be released at a later date.