It's been about a month since Nick Leddy returned to his place located on Lake Riley, just outside his hometown of Eden Prairie, Minnesota. The New York Islanders defenseman, who celebrated his 29th birthday in quarantine on March 20th, is enjoying time at home with his younger brother, parents, his Doberman, Zoey, and his Black Russian Terrier, Zula.
"It's obviously good to see family and friends back home and get to enjoy some time with them," Leddy said. "My brother is here. He moved back to the house for the time being just for quarantine. I'm definitely glad to have him back out here that's for sure. It's been good. My mom is here as well and my dad is only 25 minutes away. We'll all do a bonfire and my dad will come over. We social distance that way, but at least I get to see them and hang out with them."
Shortly after the NHL issued an indefinite suspension on the regular season on March 12, Leddy, Zoey and Zula made their way from Long Island back to Minnesota. In the time since, Leddy has been productive with miscellaneous tasks and maintenance around his property.
"I think spending time with family and I've even just been doing a lot of chores around the house," Leddy said. "I haven't been able to do that in a while."
While May is just around the corner, Minnesota has yet to fully blossom into springtime. Leddy hopes the oscillating weather of blizzards and sunshine will subside soon enough.
"The weather needs to make up its mind," Leddy said with a laugh. "Last Sunday, Monday and a little bit on Tuesday we had on and off blizzards. It's been getting crazy. Then, this [past] Saturday was 60 [degrees] and sunny... Once the weather gets a little bit nicer we'll definitely get the boat out. I do like to fish a lot. I definitely like to enjoy way too many different types of water sports. Just being able to get out on the water again will be really nice."
When he's not joining his family for dinners and bonfires with country music echoing in the background, wearing out his pups or prepping for water activities, Leddy has been enthralled with the novel, "Empire of the Summer Moon." The Pulitzer Prize finalist shares historical accounts of the battle between Comanche Indians and settlers.
"It's not normally a book I would read, but it's been really interesting" Leddy said. "A lot of information about something that I know nothing about."
The avid outdoorsman is certainly enjoying the peaceful downtime during what is normally a taxing time of year, but is simultaneously feeling stir-crazy as Leddy's fervor for competition has been tough to replicate.
"It's been pretty hard honestly," Leddy said of training without having ice access or a full gym equipment. "I have some stuff at my house but nothing too crazy. If I were to be able to get out it would be better because at least you can get out of the house a little bit and do things. It's definitely been hard, but everyone's been going through it. It's just what everyone has to do right now."
Even for a seasoned veteran, who has quite the accomplished resume at 29, Leddy has endured the challenges of staying mentally sharp amidst so much uncertainty.
"Even just trying to train and stay in shape is probably the weirdest thing," Leddy said. "You just kind of jumped back into [training] instead of letting your body rest for that first little bit [as you would in the summer] until you're mentally prepared to get back into it...I think for every job, people outside of sports as well, it's been hard. Everyone is just trying to figure out what's going to happen next."
The 2019-20 campaign marks 10 years since Leddy has played in the league and was highlighted by reaching the impressive 700-game milestone and recording his 300th-career point.
During November and December, a lower-body injury kept Leddy out of the lineup for eight total games, more than he had missed in the previous four seasons combined. As an onset of injuries burdened the Isles blueline, he was heavily leveraged in all types of situations. The mobile d-man was already part of the go-to ensemble sent over the boards in overtime, which occured 21 times this season for the Islanders.
Notoriously, Leddy quarterbacks one of the Isles power-play units, but sacrificed some of that responsibility to fill Adam Pelech's void on the penalty kill after the fellow blueliner suffered an Achilles tendon injury in early January. He saw it as an opportunity to further refine all aspects of his game.
Video: NYI@OTT: Leddy pots second goal on penalty shot
"The last couple of years I haven't really played the penalty kill," Leddy said. "So I think still being able to grow that way and learn different facets of that game, was huge just as a player."
Through 60 games, Leddy compiled 21 points (3G, 18A). The 6-foot, 207-pound left-shot recorded the third highest amount of time on ice per game played, behind Ryan Pulock and Pelech, with an average of 21:07.
While the Islanders were in an 0-3-4 stretch prior the NHL's pause, Leddy was optimistic that the team would get their season back on track and hopes that can still be the case if the NHL is able to resume play.
"I think we had a little bit of a lull as a team before the break," Leddy reflected. "I think every team goes through that at least once a year. As long as you can limit the amount of games lost. That was a little unfortunate. If we would have kept going and the situation was a little different it was probably good to get that out of the way then so that we could have refocused and gotten back to playing our game the right way."
While Leddy is enjoying life on the lake house with his family, he's eager to return to the ice playing alongside his teammates and hopeful to properly close out the 2019-20 campaign.