Unlike Major League Baseball, things are running smoothly, so far, for the NHL in the coronavirus age.
The NHL announced Monday that 800 players were tested for the virus last week and that zero had positive results.
The Flyers arrived in Toronto, the Eastern Conference hub, on Sunday and had their first practice on Monday. They have an exhibition game Tuesday against Pittsburgh, then restart their season Sunday against Boston in the round-robin tourney.
“The bubble’s been tremendous so far,” Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said in a Zoom call from Toronto. “We’re in a beautiful hotel. … and everything has worked like clockwork. It’s been a great experience so far. It’s amazing that the NHL and the union could put this together in such short notice.”
Edmonton is the Western Conference’s hub city. All of the NHL games will be played in Edmonton or Toronto.
Meanwhile, MLB, which has its teams traveling all around the country, is having a coronavirus outbreak. Eleven Miami Marlins players and two coaches have the virus, and two games — including the Yankees-Phillies matchup — were postponed Monday as the league tries to figure out how to deal with the medical issue.
Fletcher said it was difficult keeping Carsen Twarynski, German Rubtsov, Nate Prosser, and Tyler Wotherspoon off the team’s 31-player roster.
“We would have felt comfortable with any of those four players that we didn’t bring here,” he said.
Fletcher said it was a “testament to our depth” that the team had some tough choices to make.
Sean Couturier said he had an “amazing feeling” when his daughter, Ella was born Thursday, and that “it’s already tough leaving [her], but it is what it is. Definitely going to have a lot of FaceTimes in the next few weeks.”
At practice Monday, the veteran center wore the hospital bracelet from when his daughter was born. He said he planned to wear it in games as an inspiration.
“I actually just forgot to cut it off before leaving and my wife wanted to keep it for the baby’s book as a memory,” Couturier said. “I feel if I cut it off, I may lose it.”
Flyers center Kevin Hayes was among the 31 team nominees for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, awarded to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution to the community.