Players will need to stay in a safe zone, so they will spend the majority of their time in the hotel and arena, some for more than two months. The playoffs will be followed by the Stanley Cup playoffs, with the first two rounds also taking place in the two central cities; each conference final and the Stanley Cup final will be held in Edmonton.
So while not all NHL gamers are addicted to the game, plenty of Xbox and PlayStation consoles will be packed in suitcases for travel from players’ home towns to their new homes.
But that’s not all the players plan to bring.
In addition to the usual items for road trips – toothbrushes and deodorant, underwear and socks, iPads and laptops – there will be many, many more.
And more opportunities to forget something crucial. As a defenseman for the Tampa Bay Lightning Ryan McDonagh says, “Make sure you have all your chargers, your electronics, foremost.” ”
That’s why it’s not just the on-ice portion of the return-to-play plan that makes players sweat.
“I’ve had some concern about my suitcase before, honestly,” Nashville Predators forward Colton Sissons said more than a week before he traveled to Edmonton.
But for some it is easy.
“My Golf Clubs,” Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Muzzin said. “You will find me in the hallway.
Florida Panthers forward Brian Boyle said he would make sure to find room for a putter and three golf balls, a way to pass the time and keep his skills sharp.
Cards are popular, as are yoga mats, foam rollers, supplements, healthy snacks, board games, and musical instruments.
The latter is nothing new to the Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby, who brings a travel guitar to every road trip. Maple Leafs Defenseman Cody Ceci is considering packing a keyboard, although he said the size might make it difficult.
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Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand said he would probably bring a guitar to Toronto and his teammate Jake DeBrusk says maybe he should get one so he can spend some time learning the intricacies of the game with Marchand and the Defender Jeremy Lauzon.
It has been suggested that if the keeper Tuukka Rask might somehow manage to bring a battery to Canada, the Bruins might have some built-in entertainment for a stint they hope will last until the Cup Final. Boston is one of eight teams already qualified for the playoffs.
“We [could] put on a show every night, ”Marchand said.
Books are a packaged everyday article, for those who are regular readers and those who are not.
As Sissons said, “I’ll probably be spending a lot of time in the hotel room. I have an Amazon-ed Kindle the other day so I have this, mentally sweating in there. ”
Some heading to one of the hub cities were more specific about the reading material. Predators coach John Hynes presents “The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance during the Blitz,” a look at former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Hynes started just before the break and plans to dive back in.
“Reading it, I thought it was [one of] the ones where you get a ton the first reading, “he said,” but the second reading is something you could get even more out of. ”
Other elements that make the trip range from sentimental to ridiculous.
Maple Leafs Center John Tavares said he brought a picture of his wife and son. “You don’t want to forget those faces,” he says.
Toronto forward Kyle Clifford says, “I bring a fan. That is just about everything. I like white noise at night. ”
As for the defenseman of the Vegas Golden Knights Jon Merrill? “An adult coloring book,” he says. “I colored so much during the break. It’s a skill that I need to keep sharp.
Then there is the Montreal Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher. For him, less is more.
“I pack my bags as light as possible,” he says. “I bring what is strictly necessary. I always have a deck of cards with me. I like to play with it, but other than that I don’t bring as much entertainment to my room. I have TV and it’s pretty good for me. ”
In the end, that’s the message from some players. They are there for hockey. While their suitcases can be filled with bits and pieces that will keep them busy and occupied during downtime, that’s not their biggest concern.
While there are some things they really, really don’t want to forget.
“I’m just thinking of my play station”, forward of the Winnipeg Jets Patrik laine said when asked what he would make sure to pack. “That’s about it for me.
“And a toothbrush. That’s all. “