But after his team’s first-round Stanley Cup Playoff victory over the Calgary Flames, Dallas Stars coach and lifelong hockey player Rick Bowness offered an alibi after a crazy game that saw the two. teams split up at different times before the Stars grab a wild 7. -3 victory. The first question asked of Bowness on Thursday night had nothing to do with living conditions. Rather than pick up on the thread, the 65-year-old has gone his own way.
Bottom line: life in a bubble is not easy.
“You know what, let me say something,” he began. “People don’t understand how hard this bubble is. It’s great that we’re playing and the league is back, but it’s tough. I think this game was a mess for both sides. It’s hard to explain, but I don’t think people understand how hard it is to live in this bubble. The league, give them a lot of credit, they did the best job they could, everyone is running it the best they can, but it’s tough.
The idea that it’s a bit of a battle in the bubbles isn’t new. After a few weeks away from his family, Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask made the decision to quit his team and return home. On a lighter – and tastier – note, Richaun Holmes of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings crossed a bubble border to scoop up some chicken wings.
The heart wants what the taste buds dictate.
Vancouver Canucks goaltender Louis Domingue described an experience with benefits cut off by difficult personal moments in a behind-the-scenes video that offered a glimpse into his day-to-day life. The 28-year-old has given a big thumbs up to things like the Edmonton Rogers Place sequel which is available for players to watch live action of their choice – with the option to enjoy drinks and a bite to eat while taking everything. He loves to sit in the sun with his French-speaking compatriot Antoine Roussel enjoying the “best coffee in the bubble” while watching matches on a large outdoor screen and, as Domingue says, “breaking down and heating the stove”. His favorite spot is a mini shooting rink inside the Oilers extended locker room where he can forget about his usual existence as a guy getting shot and, instead, smash a few pucks himself.
But even for a well-adjusted person making the most of an abnormal situation, there are some distressing aspects. Hanging out in the hotel suite with your Canucks buddies, beating them at the French board game Super Tock or playing a game of Mario Kart on the Nintendo 64 is one thing; just seeing your wife and children on screens is another.
Domingue does what he can, drawing pictures to help tell nighttime stories to Mila and Liam. But nothing is the same as being there and, as he knows, there is another aspect of this equation that struggles at least as much as he does.
“I bet you it’s even more difficult for the people who are waiting for you at home,” he says.
While life in the NHL bubble is limited almost exclusively to league employees, the NBA has allowed a limited number of independent media outlets inside the walls of its temporary home at Walt Disney World. New York Times writer Marc Stein has been in Orlando covering the action for over a month now and, speaking on The Daily podcast, he described some of the restrictions that govern life there. If NBA players get together for a socially distanced card game, the game should be thrown at the end of the activity. Playing table tennis is acceptable, but only for singles matches; you can’t have two guys whipping rackets at the same end of the table.
As for note-takers and mic holders, Stein portrayed a bit of a “Groundhog Day” existence.
Every morning he wakes up and logs his temperature and oxygen saturation in a health app issued by the league. Assuming all is well, your information is captured in a thick wristband that you have to slide at different access points to move around, including where your nose and throat swabs occur.
Then there are the proximity sensors that everyone has as part of their credentials. These little guys – like they’ve stepped out of a sci-fi movie – need to charge overnight and beep if you spend more than 10 seconds within six feet of someone else while wearing a . This is great when you are in your room or walking around the media about a square mile that members have to walk. But when you’re in a common area for post-game interviews or taking the bus to an arena, it can get noisy.
“Our proximity sensors tend to create a chirping symphony,” said Stein.
While life in a bubble can seem overwhelming at times, it has done nothing to quell the creative juices flowing in Domingue. Among the characters he draws for his children at bedtime is Swiper, a mischievous fox from the world of Dora the Explorer who tries to steal precious items from those around him.
It’s easy to imagine that everyone exists in a bubble right now with the feeling that Swiper has grabbed a few things from them.