It took a little while, but hockey is finally back after a 138-day intermission.
Three exhibition games took place on Tuesday, the NHL’s first on-ice action since March 11, the day before the League opted to pause because of the pandemic.
To move forward, the NHL came up with the bubble plan — putting 24 teams in two hub cities, 12 Eastern Conference squads playing out of Toronto, and 12 Western Conference teams duking it out of Edmonton.
There are no fans, mascots, national anthem singers, beer vendors, or T-shirts getting shot out of cannons, but hockey is back.
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The Toronto Maple Leafs scored 33 seconds into the return to play as the Leafs doubled-up on the Canadiens 4-2 at Scotiabank Arena and Connor McDavid scored two goals in a 4-1 win against the Calgary Flames at Rogers Place.
The Philadelphia Flyers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 in overtime in front of an empty Scotiabank Arena.
Twelve more teams are in exhibition action on Wednesday, including the Vancouver Canucks and Winnipeg Jets at 10:30 ET. The Stanley Cup Qualifiers start this Saturday.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) July 27, 2020
The NHL might look and sound different, it might be physically distanced, but yes, hockey is finally back.
Until one team hoists the Stanley Cup in the League’s most unprecedented season yet, here’s how the world of Twitter reacted to the return of Canada’s game.
— Hockey By Design (@HockeyByDesign) July 28, 2020
— Marty’sPartyTruck (@3CanesintheBox) July 28, 2020
— The Grind Line Podcast™ (@GrindLinePod) July 28, 2020
— Steve Kee 🎤 (@steve_kee) July 29, 2020
— Huron Perth Lakers U18 (@U18Hp) July 28, 2020
I can’t believe I am watching hockey in July! #NHLIsBack
— 🦩Erin🦩 (@Air_Bear_) July 29, 2020
— Wil Ferrero (@wilferrero63) July 28, 2020
— Nick Early (@Nurly13) July 28, 2020
— intheNHLbubble (@InTheNHLBubble) July 26, 2020
— Stormy Buonantony (@StormBuonantony) July 28, 2020
— InTheCreaseHockeyPodcast (@InTheCreasePod) July 28, 2020
— Jack (@fvckjack) July 28, 2020
— TonyScoopsFacts (@DigzFacts) July 29, 2020
— Liberty S. (@TributeFoxface) July 28, 2020
Holy shit. I’m watching LIVE hockey. pic.twitter.com/5027QCCGwz
— Wyatt Fossett (@WyattFossett) July 29, 2020