It's been a week.
It's been a week since the Carolina Hurricanes had won three games in a row on a critical five-game road trip to jump into a wild card playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
It's been a week since the Canes then caught an impromptu late afternoon flight out of Newark bound for Raleigh.
It's been a week without hockey.
It's been a week since everything changed.
It changed in an instant, like a goal in double overtime of a decisive Game 7 that elates one team and stuns another.
The week since has slogged along like a game with no flow, bogged down with whistle after whistle.
It's beginning to feel like we're all Desmond Hume, dropping the needle on a Mama Cass record before settling into an all-too familiar daily routine. We might as well be pressing a button every 108 minutes. We've got the time.
We're making our own kind of music. We're singing our own special song. We're making our own kind of music, even if nobody else sings along.
And we're waiting. Waiting, yearning for some sense of normalcy amidst the abnormal and the unprecedented.
But it has to be this way.
It has to be this way, for now, so that we can rediscover the way it was before.
Right now, there are no crowds. But there are family and friends, a community of those closest to us that we have to lean on and support.
Right now, there are no highlight-reel goals, no jaw-dropping passes, no ten-bell saves. But there are triumphs of the human spirit in an otherwise bleak period of time.
Right now, there are no goal horns, no "Raise Up," no wooing. But there are those working tirelessly to keep us safe and healthy, selfless heroes who deserve our jubilant appreciation.
It's been a week, and it's likely to be many more weeks.
One day, though, it will change again. As suddenly as sports disappeared, so too will they return. Hockey will be back. The Canes will be on the ice again. The puck will drop. Cheers. Boos. Wins. Losses. Tailgates. Celebrations. It will all be back.
Until then, be safe. Stay home. Practice social distancing. Wash your hands. Check in on your loved ones. Keep the mind sharp and the body active. Take a walk outside. Read a book. Support local businesses in need.
It's been a week, a prolonged, empty week. And still, only a week.
Together, though, we'll make it through the next, and the next, and the next.
That's what matters most.