Get ready for a behind-the-scenes look at the Stanley Cup Playoffs inside the bubbles.
"Quest for the Stanley Cup," the all-access series that annually takes viewers behind the scenes during the playoffs, premieres at 6 p.m. ET on Sept. 2 on ESPN+ in the United States and on https://www.youtube.com/nhl in Canada, the NHL announced Tuesday.
Emmy-winning producer Ross Greenburg and his team from Ross Greenburg Productions in association with NHL Original Productions will have dual objectives with this season's six-part series.
First, as always, will be to tell the story the competition on the ice for the Stanley Cup, beginning with the experiences of the eight teams that advanced to the second round: the Philadelphia Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Boston Bruins and New York Islanders in the Eastern Conference and the Vegas Golden Knights, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars and Vancouver Canucks in the Western Conference.
The second purpose will be to document what life is like inside the bubbles in Toronto and Edmonton for the players, coaches, executives and staff who, in order to remain healthy while completing the NHL season during the coronavirus pandemic, potentially will be isolated from the outside world, including their families and friends, for more than two months.
"The bubble becomes a very important character in this series, so we have to kind of pick and choose who we want to follow, but we're confined to where we can follow them," Greenburg said. "We're also having to kind of give the perspective of the players, coaches and teams in working daily within the bubble. It changes the storytelling.
"But what's most paramount is what happens on the ice -- picking out the superstars and getting to know them, getting to know the coaches and how they handle their teams as the tournament moves on."
Because of the circumstances, this edition of "Quest for the Stanley Cup" will have a historical significance beyond those that preceded it. In addition to providing the sounds and sights of the playoffs from angles previously inaccessible with fans in the arenas, the series will also seek to capture the emptiness in the buildings that goes along with it.
It will culminate with the presentation of the Stanley Cup inside an empty arena.
The series will be narrated again by Emmy- and Tony-nominated actor Bill Camp, who will be working remotely from his home in Vermont.
"This is the one that people will go back to from an archival standpoint and watch again and again," NHL senior executive vice president and chief content officer Steve Mayer said. "The fact that we have exclusive access in this bubble with those cameras that will then be able produce these shows, I think is beyond unique. Not that we've gotten into a habit at all, but people love our all-access shows. They get you inside in an exclusive way that the normal fan just does not get to see.
"But now we've added this whole other layer of being inside a bubble that no one gets to see, and I do think that's what's going to make these shows as unique as they've ever been."