Yesterday, the Tampa Bay Lightning and other teams eligible to play in a 24-team tournament have opened their training camps for the first day of Phase 3. In case you missed it, our reporter Matt covered the opening day for our site [Raw Charge]:
On Saturday, Lightning General Manager Julien BriseBois revealed that captain Steven Stamkos suffered a lower body injury during Phase 2 and would not be a full participant at the start of training camp. Between the first and second groups of players Stamkos took the ice alongside trainer Mikey Poirier. He started with a few conditioning laps, followed up by some footwork drills. He then transitioned to his spot above the left faceoff circle where Poirier fed him a few passes that saw Stamkos settle the puck and then fire them on net. Afterwards, the captain did a figure eight cone drill followed by a simple board drill. He finished with some one-timer practice before leaving the ice. In total, Stamkos was on the ice for roughly 30-40 minutes.
Greg Auman and Joe Smith of the Athletic also published a report from yesterday’s practice and zoom conference with players and Jon Cooper on their site, you can check it too if you need another angle of the first day [The Athletic, paid content]:
So the Lightning had all 33 players participating in practice in some fashion, free from illness or significant injury. Each practice session had 16 players — five defensemen wearing black and three sets of three forwards in white, blue and yellow, along with two goalies. With Stamkos sidelined, the Lightning plugged rookie Carter Verhaeghe into his spot on the top line with Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov, with Alex Killorn, Anthony Cirelli and Ondrej Palat on the second line in the morning session. In another encouraging sign, defenseman Jan Rutta, who had been limited by a lower-body injury before the pause, was paired with Victor Hedman as the top defensemen, working in front of starting goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy.
The Lightning players have expressed themselves on getting back to practice and chasing Stanley Cup in the middle of pandemic.
Johnson on living in the bubble: "You're going to have to be mentally strong to be able to succeed in here... But at least if we're stuck with anyone, I'm glad we're stuck with our guys. We usually have a lot of fun together so I'm not too worried about that." pic.twitter.com/L3peuNoIKA— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) July 13, 2020
Killorn: "People have the right to put an asterisk on it if they want, but I think if you win it, your name is going to be on the Stanley Cup forever and you can tell people that you were a Stanley Cup champion winner for the rest of your life." pic.twitter.com/lPPZe4rjxq— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) July 13, 2020
Meanwhile, the NHL has released a statement regarding results of COVID-19 testing during Phase 2 of RTP plan. According to them, 30 players have tested positive and there are also 13 players outside of the Phase 2 Protocol who have also returned positive tests.
NHL statement on COVID-19 testing results: pic.twitter.com/lAkEQJ0B8N— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) July 13, 2020
On Sunday some sources reported that three players of the Montreal Canadiens have tested positive, however two of them turned out to be “false positives“ according to recent information.
UPDATE: A source tells @TheAthleticMTL that two of the positive tests on the Canadiens from last week turned out to be "false positives." Our story from yesterday has been updated with the new information. https://t.co/eK2kIPgew3— Аrpon Basu (@ArponBasu) July 13, 2020
Yesterday was the last day when players could use their rights to opt out of the 24-team tournament without penalty. You can find a list of players below.
Starting a thread tracking the players that have opted out of the NHL restart. So far we have:— CapFriendly Depth Charts (@CF_DepthCharts) July 12, 2020
Steven Kampfer (BOS)
Travis Hamonic (CGY)
Mike Green (EDM)
Karl Alzner (MTL)
Sven Baertschi (VAN)
The Florida Panthers assistant coach has also used this option.
#FlaPanthers Assistant Coach Mike Kitchen has opted out of the NHL’s Return to Play program.— Florida Panthers PR (@FlaPanthersPR) July 13, 2020
“It was a difficult decision to say the least, but the right decision for me and my family.” – Kitchen.
The Florida Panthers fully support this decision.
The Chicago Blackhawks have been left without goaltender Corey Crawford for the qualifying round who is currently “unfit to play“.
Corey Crawford "unfit to play" right now, per Jeremy Colliton. Remember, teams cannot comment on absences beyond that.— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) July 13, 2020
The Minnesota Wild have signed a Russian forward Kirill Kaprizov for two year entry-level contract. He’s still not eligible to play for the rest of the season but can participate at practices with the team.
Kaprizov Countdown: 0— Minnesota Wild (@mnwild) July 13, 2020
NEWS: The #mnwild announced the club has signed forward Kirill Kaprizov to a two-year, entry-level contract starting with the 2019-20 season.
Welcome to the #StateOfHockey, @KaprizovKirill!
» https://t.co/skdkSkKPd7 pic.twitter.com/ZhHJgaYWa7
Reportedly the New York Islanders have signed Russian goaltender Ilya Sorokin to one-year contract, basically immediately burning it.
Ilya Sorokin signs his one-year, entry-level contract with the #isles and immediately burns than year while not being eligible to play in the NHL restart. And he'll need another deal before next season.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) July 13, 2020
Alex Killorn posted the season finale of Dock Talk on his Instagram with some special guests.
Mikhail Sergachev has also made a preview of the playoffs in a Harry Potter style.