Daly: NHL wants players to stay in club cities, avoid informal skates
The NHL wants its players to avoid straying from the cities where their teams play and refrain from taking the ice for the time being with the season paused due to the coronavirus.
"The general expectation is that players will remain in the clubs' home cities absent unusual circumstances," The league's deputy commissioner, Bill Daly, wrote to TSN's Ryan Rishaug on Friday. "Obviously, where a player is separated from his family because his club-city residence is only temporary at this point, those players should be permitted to go home to their families in this initial phase of the pause period."
Daly added the NHL is recommending against informal skates at this time and that players will be covered by the protections afforded to them in their contracts once training for the resumption of play begins.
"We envision there coming a time (when) we transition direction from 'stay at home' to opening club facilities to players to work out and to skate on a voluntary basis in small groups - similar to what we generally see prior to the beginning of team training camps," Daly wrote, adding that he can't say when such a period would begin but that the league will monitor developments over the next week or so.
Daly said there will be no mandatory testing of players for the virus, but testing will be conducted "as appropriate" if a player exhibits symptoms or becomes sick.
He also addressed the schedule and how it could impact players' contracts.
"Any decision we make on (the) schedule will be done in conjunction with the NHLPA, and the parties can agree to extend the terms of existing contracts by whatever period is necessary to accommodate the resumption of play (based on) determinations that are ultimately made," he wrote.
The league and the players' association are developing rules for players during this time and should have a working agreement by the end of Friday, reports TSN's Darren Dreger.
The NHL officially paused its 2019-20 campaign Thursday, following the lead of the NBA. Many other leagues have since canceled or postponed their respective seasons.