The Islanders - or, at least, a handful of them - returned to the ice at Northwell Health yesterday for the first time in three-plus months. They were in small group workouts (no more than six players, including a goalie), but according to Josh Bailey, it felt good to get out there again.
“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.”
Bailey was joined by Matt Martin, Cal Clutterbuck and Thomas Greiss in one group. The second group consisted of Devon Toews, Scott Mayfield and Bridgeport goalie Christopher Gibson. More Islanders could cycle in and out of the facility this week, and Bailey plans on coming in two more times.
This is the very, very cautious first step of Phase 2 of the NHL’s Return to Play plan. Coaches aren’t allowed in these skates, so the players form the groups themselves. Bailey has had two COVID-19 tests in the last week, including another one on Monday. The “drills,” such as they were, were kept very light. For Bailey, it was more about just feeling the puck again and not riding a Peloton or working out in his backyard just to stay in shape.
“We just kind of went through some puck-handling, pretty basic stuff. For preparation, it was different. We were all in a different situation; some guys had home gyms, some guys didn’t. I think a lot of guys got on the Peloton train, got some bikes going. When it was nice outside to get a good workout outside, there were still ways.
Bailey finished his day with a Zoom call for Islanders media and PR folk. Having all that time off certainly didn’t disrupt his post-game cliche skills, but he’s not wrong about just taking things one day at a time since we’re pretty much all in the same boat.
I’m just kind of going with what we’re told here and taking it day by day I guess you could say. We’ll see where we land a couple of days from now and then next week and beyond. For now, just taking it day by day.”
Here are articles about the skate from Andrew Gross at Newsday and Arthur Staple at The Athletic. And you can watch all of Bailey’s Zoom call below to take a break from the usual Zoom calls you’ve been having.
- Seven current and former NHL players have formed the Hockey Diversity Alliance in order to help “to eradicate racism and intolerance in hockey,” promote diverstity, make the game more accessible and enact positive change. Leadership includes Evander Kane, Akim Aliu, Wayne Simmons, Trevor Daly, Chris Stewart, Matt Dumba and the recently retired Joel Ward. The group will be independant of the NHL but both sides expect to form a partnership with hopes of bettering hockey as a whole. [NHL.com | Press release via Simmons]
- The Senators will cut ties with their namesake charitable organization and the reason is - of course - owner Eugene Melnyk, because it always is. He’s wanted to take more control over the Sens Foundation but, uh, there appears to be some missing money. [Ottawa Sun | Silver Seven]
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