NHL players seem to be enjoying the bubble life (PHOTOS)

Jul 29 2020, 7:24 pm

NHL teams arrived in Edmonton and Toronto on Sunday and now seem fully acclimated to the hub cities.

Players, coaches, and staff are operating in a bubble environment, meaning they’re not coming into contact with the outside world. That includes their families, which is a sacrifice the 24 participating teams are making for a chance to win the Stanley Cup.

Independent media aren’t allowed in the bubble, so we’re left to teams and players on social media to show us what’s going on inside.

Let’s dive in.

As one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, the Boston Bruins are staying at Hotel X in Toronto. The top five teams in the East were assigned to that hotel, while the remaining seven are slumming it at the Royal York.

Here’s a look at the accommodations for one Bruins player:

Some teams went the extra mile for their players, as the Calgary Flames did, decorating rooms with family photos. The Flames are staying at the Sutton Place Hotel in Edmonton, along with the five other lowest-seeded Western Conference teams. The top six teams in the West are staying at the JW Marriott.

Each team appears to be decorating their floor to make everyone feel more at home.

Every team entered the NHL bubble healthy, and the league would like them to stay that way, which is why players, coaches, and staff are getting tested frequently.

Outside of hotel rooms, the NHL is doing plenty to keep players occupied, as some of them may be in the bubble for a couple of months.

Unlike the first reviews of the food in the NBA and MLS bubbles, the meals inside the NHL bubble look pretty good.

At Rogers Place in Edmonton, the NHL has set up player lounges for relaxation, and ping pong, apparently.

A staple of every NHL dressing room, ping pong is a theme inside the bubble, with tables set up all over the place.

Players are allowed to leave the hotel, but pathways are fenced off for them.

Here’s what that looks like in Toronto:

There’s even a tunnel from the Royal York to Scotiabank Arena, fenced off too, of course:

The same is true in Edmonton, even for when players need to cross the street:

Fans can’t get near the players, but they can try to communicate with them like this:

Players have lots of meal options, which includes things like a pop-up sushi restaurant in Edmonton as well as Tim Hortons coffee trucks in both hubs.

There’s no shortage of things to do to remain active, particularly in Toronto, where players have access to BMO Field and the Raptors practice court.

There’s a tennis court available for use too, apparently:

Meanwhile, in Edmonton, they’ve got access to a golf simulator and bubble hockey.

Inside the rinks, Scotiabank Arena and Rogers Place are looking a lot different than normal, and not just because the Montreal Canadiens are in the home dressing room for their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Both rinks have been given a made-for-TV makeover, with empty seats covered and video boards acting as a technological backdrop for games.

Oh, and then there’s the new plexiglass barrier for the between-the-benches analyst.

Luckily, the hockey still looks like hockey. The Philadelphia Flyers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 in overtime in the first exhibition game on Tuesday. Every team will play one exhibition game prior to the playoffs beginning on Saturday.

Rob WilliamsRob Williams

+ Offside
+ Hockey