The NHL and the Carolina Hurricanes will begin phase two next week
The NHL has announced that it will finally transition to phase 2 of its return to play plan next week. Where does that stand for the Carolina Hurricanes?
It seems that the NHL may be bumping up its schedule a bit, at least for phase two, which will start this Monday. When I originally broke down the phases in the league’s return to play plan, it seemed like phase two wouldn’t happen until at least halfway through the month, if not later. Now it seems like the league might be getting ahead of the curve.
Yesterday the NHL announced that phase two, which includes optional skates in team controlled facilities allowing six maximum players to practice at a time while observing social distancing on the practice ice. These players have to be tested and go through a medical diagnostic before participating. No coaches or staff are allowed.
But what does that mean for the Carolina Hurricanes? For one, the new Wake Competition Center, which will serve as the official practice facility of the team moving forward, is just about ready for the players. The red practice bleachers have been installed and only admin construction remains.
The real question remains, is the limit of six putting a halt on the ability for the team to properly get their ice legs under them?
To be fair, there aren’t that many players back in town. Some have never left and others like Sebastian Aho are in Europe and have been seen skating in their home nations. So really that limit of six may just be right for the handful of guys still around the area.
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But as players return, get tested and request ice time, things may get complicated. WCC is not the only practice facility available to the Carolina Hurricanes, however, and this may be an opportunity for some other facilities to make a little money by making some ice and keeping the lights on, but is this entire plan viable? Time will tell. For now, all we can do is wait and see.
Another interesting tidbit from the announcements made by the league the other day is the fact that the rest of the playoffs will not be bracketed beyond the conference. Meaning that the highest remaining seed will always take on the lowest remaining seed and so on. This is something that the fans have called for years and it took a literal act of god for it to happen.
Who knows if they will continue to keep that concept moving forward. It will definitely make the upcoming playoff fantasy brackets complicated and I am absolutely here for it. That is if the playoffs do happen. Still a lot of time between phases two and three considering the July 1st “No earlier than” stipulation placed on phase three.
Question for CC Readers: Do you believe this plan is worth it?