It’s been almost exactly three months since the NHL, much like most of modern life, has been shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But as life starts eking back into gear for whatever new normal will exist, things are changing. Between a virus that has infected millions and killed hundreds of thousands and the social unrest against systemic racial issues, it just feels like forever since there’s been some good news. A reason to have a chance to sit back and smile.
Sidney Crosby back on the ice for the Penguins is one, especially wheeling around in the last 10 seconds of this clip.
LOOK WHO'S BACK ON THE ICE! pic.twitter.com/BrJUd5VCPs— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) June 10, 2020
Sidney Crosby, well, looks like Sidney Crosby out there. We’ve heard the reports of him seeking out places to skate around town and finding some ice here and there, and he does look like a player who hasn’t been holed away for the last three months.
As expected, the team has had “well over half” of their players back into the building so far this week. Players we know through visual evidence that have returned to town include Evgeni Malkin, Jake Guentzel, Bryan Rust, Jared McCann, Conor Sheary, Anthony Angello, Brian Dumoulin, John Marino, Jack Johnson and Casey DeSmith.
Players are only allowed to work out six at a time in limited groups right now in this phase, with no official team coaching or organized “practices”. Though, as professionals and with access to all the practice items, they can well organize their own drills and work out.
“Phase 3” of larger full-team training camps has yet to be announced, but based on timelines and logistics probably won’t begin until mid-July at earliest, and likely even later. The NHL still has not announced (or probably even fully determined) when or where the play-in series will begin.