Calgary Flames shake off the rust at the Saddledome
Published Friday, June 12, 2020 4:25PM MDT Last Updated Friday, June 12, 2020 7:25PM MDT
CALGARY -- The Calgary Flames have returned to the ice for the first time in three months.
Five players laced up their skates Friday morning for a group session, led by Flames' captain Mark Giordano.
Mark Jankowski, Michael Stone, Dillon Dube, and prospect Matthew Phillips were also on the ice.
"While everyone has been channeling their energy into different off-ice training regimens to keep themselves in shape, nothing compares to being on the ice and getting those reps in," Giordano wrote Friday in a blog posted to the National Hockey League's website. "It's also refreshing mentally, being able to be around a small group of the guys and get the momentum back as a team will be huge."
Flames forward Tobias Reider has also returned to Calgary, but must undergo a two-week quarantine before he's allowed on the ice.
The NHL implemented phase two of its return-to-play plan this past week, allowing teams to re-open their training facilities. Players are now able to participate in non-contact training activities both off-ice and on-ice.
A maximum of six players and minimal coaching staff are allowed to be together at one time to ensure a safe and controlled environment.
As long as everything goes to plan, the NHL is expecting to implement phase three of its return-to-play plan on July 10, which will include training camps. An announcement on return-to-play hub cities is also expected near this time.
Friday marks three months since the NHL announced the pause of the season due to COVID-19, and Giordano says the team has stayed in touch.
"We've been in constant contact over FaceTime and Zoom, but nothing compares to being on the ice with the guys," he said.
The NHL is planning to resume with a 24-team playoff at the end of July.
The first round would see the Flames meeting the Winnipeg Jets in a five-game series. The two teams only met once during the regular season, with the Flames losing in overtime during the Heritage Classic in Regina.
Two additional games between the teams were not played due to the postponed season.