Flyers prepare to resume play as they deal with bubble conditions in Toronto

Ed Benkin
July 31, 2020 - 5:52 pm

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) The NHL is hoping for a better fate in bubble conditions after the baseball world has had to deal with its share of coronavirus issues. 

NHL teams are in Toronto and Edmonton preparing for the resumption of games. The Flyers will begin round-robin play in Toronto on Sunday against Boston. 

Ever since the Flyers arrived in Toronto, they have been forced to follow strict safety guidelines, which also means spending time away from their families.

Claude Giroux says he is doing his best to focus on hockey while using FaceTime to spend time with his wife and baby son.

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"We’re all at the rink and the hotel," said Giroux."The whole team is together. Any time I have a chance to FaceTime my family, I do. It's definitely not ideal to be in this position.  Sleep has been great but like I said, it’s tough right now."

Without family and friends and not having the opportunity to go out on the town, the Flyers are trying to make the best of their situation. 

The league has set up options for players to try and keep busy during their isolation Travis Sanheim and several other Flyers were allowed to go to Toronto's BMO Field to keep busy during their down time.

"We were able to head there," Sanheim said. "They've got a ton of games and stuff set up there. Spent basically the whole afternoon playing games. They had football and Frisbee, stuff like that, throwing that around as well.”

With all the restrictions in place, the Flyers will now turn their attention to the quest for the Stanley Cup. 

Sunday's game against the Bruins will be the first of three round-robin contests to determine the team's seeding in its first playoff round. Head coach Alain Vigneault wants his players to move up in the seedings, but also use the three games to sharpen their skills for the playoff round. 

"We’ve got obviously a reseeding phase to go through," said Vigneault. "Those three games, we’re going to need to play good.  We’re going to need to play hard. Have a real strong and smart work ethic. I believe this group has learned that, has learned about playing the right way and executing and bringing the right work ethic to the games. I’m very confident with this group. These three games are going to be important."

This will hardly have the feel of a traditional Stanley Cup playoff: the stands will be empty and the format in the bubble conditions is drastically different from what players are used to.  However, Nicolas Aube-Kubel and the rest of his teammates can't wait to get started.

“I’m so excited," Aube-Kubel said. "I’ve been dreaming this since I’m a little kid. I’ve loved playoffs since I’ve grown up playing hockey. Like I said, I’m so excited."