The Carolina hurricanes are living the bubble life
The Carolina Hurricanes have seized the opportunity in the Toronto bubble and bonded as an organization as they prepare for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Carolina Hurricanes embarked on a course into uncharted territory on Sunday as they were sent off to the airport by a special gathering of Caniacs at PNC Arena. A once normal trip to a playoff destination is now uniquely marked by masks and social distancing inside of Toronto’s bubble, designated for the safety of players and staff.
Cardiac Canes’ own Omar Abdelgawad wrote about the different methods the NHL has implemented their return to play protocol in contrast to other leagues such as the MLB. This bubble has so far proven to be beneficial not only for the well-being of the athletes who are competing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but also for the bonding experience each team will have.
The details of each bubble are intricate, but the short story is that each team is confined to their own space. This has given the Carolina Hurricanes plenty of time together as a team both inside and outside of practice, and this has led to some wonderful social media content from the best social media team in sports.
Several Canes players posted pictures of their individual rooms on their Instagram stories, including Ryan Dzingel. NHL staff put a picture of players with their families in each room, providing a special personal touch for each player who is sacrificing time away from home for the playoffs.
As far as practice goes, the boys have practiced hard, albeit with the understanding that they can’t leave it all out on the ice on Wednesday in their first game back in an exhibition contest against the rival Washington Capitals. Veteran forward Justin Williams explained this in a media call on Tuesday:
“I’m going to throw a few hits that probably aren’t going to hurt anybody, and I’m going to take some hits as well. I don’t think we’re going to be diving in front of Ovechkin’s shot to block it, but we’re going to be out there playing hard, getting ourselves as close to ready as we can get.”
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Head Coach Rod Brind’Amour called Tuesday’s practice the worst practice for the team because the boys are ready to start the playoff series against the Rangers. I like the approach to this exhibition game in the bubble because it gives the team the chance to capture the playoff atmosphere without sacrificing energy for the opening game against the Rangers on August 1st.
Outside of practice, the highlight of the first day in the bubble consisted of time on BMO field, where the players participated in football and spikeball, showcasing the team’s multitude of talents off the ice. The night ended in a game of poker and a rousing game of Catan, with the check-in video above provided by alternate captain Jordan Martinook.
Other highlights include golf extraordinaire Justin Williams getting the win over Sebastion Aho in mini-golf. Arena host Abby Labar also reported that alternate captain Jaccob Slavin talked about “how much he is really enjoying this quality time with his teammates.”
My time as a Caniac has emphasized that this team is special because the organization is not just made up of players that share a common goal on the ice, the team consists of a group of players that are family and want the best for each other. This trip has highlighted these family ties, and I’m excited to say that the journey to the Stanley Cup is just beginning.