The Flyers have a day off the ice Tuesday.
Don’t expect them to be making new friendships with their biggest rivals in the NHL’s return-to-play 24-team tournament.
The Flyers are staying in Hotel X Toronto with the Bruins, Lightning, Capitals and Penguins during the tourney.
“It’s been good,” Scott Laughton said last week in a video interview. “I think we’ve mostly been together, guys have been together most of the time. Not much interaction with other teams or anything like that, I think everyone’s kind of on their own schedule and different practice times and stuff, so haven’t been seeing much of the other guys. I’m sure once playoffs ramp up, I don’t think there will be many hellos. It’s been good so far and very comfortable for us. We’ve got a great set up here; it’s been pretty smooth for us.”
The seven other Eastern Conference teams in the tourney – Hurricanes, Islanders, Maple Leafs, Blue Jackets, Panthers, Rangers and Canadiens – were assigned to the Fairmont Royal York.
The NHL knows its clubs will leave the intensity on the ice.
“We had an assignment protocol based on regular-season finish, who had more point percentage than the others,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said last Friday in an interview with NBC Sports’ Liam McHugh. “At the end of the day, our players are professionals. My guess is the teams may stick more to themselves other than the relationships 1-on-1 that players have with players on other teams.”
After all, the Stanley Cup is on the line and players were away from their teammates for quite some time during this pause.
“We’re finding from our players, this is the Stanley Cup Playoffs and they are competing for the Stanley Cup, and it’s their interest to be separated,” NHL chief content officer and senior executive VP of events and entertainment Steve Mayer said in July just before the teams traveled to the two league bubbles. “The team lounges, the player meeting rooms, the player meal rooms, of course are team by team.
“I think there are going to be certain areas where, let’s call them common areas. For the first five days we’ve put a very, very stringent tone for the fact that they have to be separated, both in restaurants and everywhere. But we really have felt that the players’ feedback is their interest to be separated throughout, and we’ll see how that evolves as the tournament moves on.”
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