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Return to Play

NHL teams continue voluntary workouts as part of Phase 2

Several have opened facilities in next step of Return to Play Plan @NHLdotcom

NHL teams have begun limited workouts with small groups at their team facilities, the start of Phase 2 of the Return to Play Plan.

The Calgary Flames said Friday that defensemen Mark Giordano and Michael Stone, and forwards Dillon Dube, Mark Jankowski and Matthew Phillips skated at Scotiabank Saddledome. They also also said forward Tobias Rieder has arrived in Calgary and will join the workouts following a two-week quarantine. 

Tweet from @NHLFlames: Ice ice baby!Mark Giordano, Michael Stone, Mark Jankowski, Dillon Dube, and Matthew Phillips took part in an on-ice session this morning at the 'Dome!Tobias Rieder has also arrived in Calgary and will join group sessions following his two-week quarantine.

"You feel like a kid again, honestly," Giordano, the Flames captain, told the Calgary Herald. "I've never taken three months (off), I don't think, in my whole career. To be able to get back on the ice today was refreshing, to pass the puck and shoot the puck. ... All those sort of little things you forget about. It felt good."

The Chicago Blackhawks, who opened their facilities Wednesday, tweeted photos of forward Patrick Kane, goalie Malcolm Subban and others.

Tweet from @NHLBlackhawks: #HockeyPlayersInMasksSome of the #Blackhawks returned to @fifththirdarena for Phase 2 voluntary workouts today!

The Boston Bruins posted a video and pictures of forwards Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron at Warrior Ice Arena in Boston on Wednesday.

Tweet from @NHLBruins: A fitting return. 💯Full Photo Gallery:

The Arizona Coyotes, Columbus Blue Jackets and Washington Capitals opened their facilities Thursday.

"It's just fun to be back," Columbus forward Gustav Nyquist said. "... We went out for probably half an hour. We figured we'd start a little slower before we ramp up the skates just to get a feel for it again, but it was just great to see the guys."

Pittsburgh Penguins forwards Jake Guentzel, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, defensemen Brian Dumoulin and John Marino, and goalie Casey DeSmith were among those to skate at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday.

"I think for us, it's nice to be back with guys and see each other," Guentzel said. "It's been so long since we've seen each other and been on the ice with each other with not knowing what's going to happen. So just for us to be back in the rink and be able to skate with some guys, it's been nice. Obviously guys want to play hockey. We're all really excited to get going."

Several teams began workouts Monday, the first day they could do so, including the New York Islanders, Vegas Golden Knights, Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers. The Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning were among the teams to do so Tuesday.

"It was good. It was nice to just get back in there," Islanders forward Josh Bailey said. "It's a familiar place for us. It's nice to get back on the ice too; it's obviously been a while. That's where we're comfortable, out there, so it was nice to feel the puck. We didn't go too crazy on Day One, but nonetheless it was fun to get out there."

The Oilers tweeted a photo Monday of forwards Alex Chiasson and Tyler Benson, defensemen Kris Russell and Matt Benning, and goalie Stuart Skinner on the ice at Rogers Place.

Tweet from @EdmontonOilers: Alex Chiasson, Matt Benning, Kris Russell, Tyler Benson & Stuart Skinner are on the ice for the #Oilers today at @RogersPlace as Phase 2 of the @NHL's Return to Play Plan is officially underway.Welcome home, fellas! 🙂

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told TSN that teams are allowed to decide when they want to open.

"Clubs are approaching it differently depending on their circumstances," Daly said.

The Deputy Commissioner said he expected all 24 teams in the Return to Play Plan to open prior to the transition to Phase 3, the start of training camps, which will be July 10, provided that medical and safety conditions allow and the League and NHL Players' Association have reached an overall agreement on resuming play.

The defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues said they will return June 22.

"I have talked with the players and they will tell us when they think we should open," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "If they feel comfortable training as they are (currently), they should. When they want us to open, we will."

A date for Phase 4, which would be the start of play in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers leading into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, has not been determined.

The NHL season was paused March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus, and facilities were closed. The NHL announced June 4 that teams would be permitted to reopen their training facilities to allow players to participate in individualized training activities (off-ice and on-ice). Players will be participating on a voluntary basis, and workouts will be limited to a maximum of six players at any time, plus a limited number of staff.

All teams must adhere to the Phase 2 Protocol that was released by the NHL and NHL Players' Association on May 25. The 21-page document is intended to provide players with a safe and controlled environment to resume their conditioning.

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