Tavares: “a breath of fresh air” to review his teammates at the arena
The Canadian Press
TORONTO — The fact of being able to return to the locker room of the training center of the Toronto Maple Leafs has allowed John Tavares to breathed a certain return to normal.
The captain of the Leafs has also quickly had a glimpse of the reality of the new NHL, while she hopes to deliver the Stanley cup to a team champion despite the pandemic of sars coronavirus.
Screening Tests, measures of hygiene, masks, and social distancing are now part of the “new normal” of hockey players, while the NHL has begun phase 2 of its protocol of recovery — the second of four steps to a return-to-play this summer.
Tavares quickly discovered the limits of the plan of phase 2, so that it has the right to about 45 minutes of exercises off-ice, and 40 minutes on the ice during these sessions, optional in small groups.
“The intensity is there. There are several benefits, he said during a video conference on Tuesday. But if I can give you an example, I brought my poles home to me [Monday] to be able to save time by asking my ribbon before getting to the arena. The time allocated to those who need to receive treatments after the session on the ice skating rink is also rather short.
“But in general, I believe that the work done on the ice and in the gym will be beneficial long term in our preparation.”
Tavares has skated in the company to Ilya Mikheyev, Jake Muzzin and Jack Campbell, Monday and Tuesday. Cody Ceci and Mitch Marner are expected to join later this week to complete the unit of six.
Six other players — Zach Hyman, Alexander Kerfoot, William Nylander, Morgan Rielly, Travis Dermott and the guardian of the minor leagues Joseph Woll — make up the other group who has skated so far during these sessions without access to the media.
“The guys are really pleased to be able again to do what they are accustomed to do it,” said Tavares. Even if there are things that are different, it is like a breath of fresh air to revisit his teammates at the arena.”
A member of the joint committee of the NHL and the NHLPA to return to the game, Tavares noted that it would be logical that phase 2 allows for optionally groups of more than six people in the facilities.
The players of a same group may not change and therefore, it is possible that Tavares, Mikheyev and Marner make up a trio during the resumption of the game. The coaches and members of the board can only observe from afar the activities on the ice during phase 2.
“We start like that, said Tavares, who has amassed 60 points in 63 games this season. We can take advantage of this period to familiarize ourselves with each other.
“We want to be at our best when the game will resume.”