The Rangers and Islanders have been skating at their respective facilities since the second week of June, but now they will have to wait even longer for the next step in the NHL’s return to play.
Teams have been advised by the league that Phase 3 — the start of formal training camp for the 24 clubs headed to the tournament — has been pushed back.
The NHL and its Players Association are still working on ironing out the details of a “Return to Play” plan for Phase 3 and 4 (the resumption of play) and an extension of the collective bargaining agreement.
The proposal has not yet been finalized and presented to players.
Pending an agreement and a subsequent vote by the players and NHL board of governors, Edmonton and Toronto are expected to be the hub cities in which games will be played amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
The slight delay of training camps opening could give teams located in states with COVID-19 hotspots — including the Lightning, Panthers, Stars and Coyotes — a few extra days to get ready.
The NHL had announced that training camps would open “provided that medical and safety conditions allow and the parties have reached an overall agreement on resuming play.” It has yet to be determined how long training camp will last and therefore when games would begin.
The Rangers opened their facility on June 9 and the Islanders on June 8 for Phase 2, which allowed players in for voluntary small-group workouts on and off the ice.