Each offseason feels quick to Philipp Grubauer, although this one was a doozy.
After enjoying probably the most video games of his NHL profession, the German goaltender noticed his season finish with Colorado in June, waited for a brand new contract and, by the top of July, joined the enlargement Seattle franchise. He had new Kraken gear earlier than a brand new place to dwell.
“Coaching camp comes round, it’s like, ‘Oh, I suppose it’s time to return now,’” Grubauer mentioned. “It was an extremely busy summer time: nonetheless on the lookout for a home, nonetheless transferring. However we love enjoying.”
Coaching camps open round North America this week after the shortest offseason in NHL historical past. It has been lower than 80 days because the Tampa Bay Lightning hoisted the Stanley Cup — their second title in 10 months — and the league is now 32 groups sturdy, with everybody leaping again on the ice to do it another time.
“It’s been quick, that’s for positive,” Lightning captain Steven Stamkos mentioned. “However I feel whenever you win, you don’t complain about it as a lot since you gained and also you’re simply type of celebrating all summer time.”
The summer time of celebration began July 7 when the Lightning wrapped up the ultimate by beating the Montreal Canadiens in Recreation 5. By the point the calendar flipped to August, Seattle picked gamers within the enlargement draft and added Grubauer in free company, whereas Tampa Bay’s roster was hit due to the wage cap.
Coming off a 105-point season in simply 56 video games, reigning MVP Connor McDavid didn’t waste time getting again on the ice to coach for an additional shot on the playoffs. Honing his sport was extra necessary than an additional little bit of relaxation with an eye fixed on Edmonton making a deep run.
“Clearly the necessary factor is being on the ice and skating and feeling good on the market, so I attempt to put a number of give attention to that,” McDavid mentioned.
McDavid and the Oilers have been swept by Winnipeg within the first spherical, so they’d extra down time than others. Like McDavid, Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov would favor much less day without work.
“I want we may try this yearly: going so far as doable,” Barkov mentioned. “I had sufficient relaxation — psychological relaxation, bodily relaxation — and able to get again to play.”
Veteran common supervisor Chuck Fletcher, who spent the offseason overhauling Philadelphia’s blue line after the crew missed the playoffs, feels prefer it has been too lengthy because the Flyers performed. He’s greater than able to see if the brand new recipe works.
“We now have no excuses,” Fletcher mentioned. “Our NHL gamers have been comparatively wholesome on the finish of the 12 months. They’ve had a full offseason to coach. To my eyes, they appear like they’ve taken benefit of that longer window.”
The quick window has its advantages, too.
Whereas Stamkos and the Lightning may hope that ingesting from the Stanley Cup heals their playoff wounds, Montreal gamers who fell simply quick refused to attend to get again on the ice to take one other shot at it. Nick Suzuki received on top of things shortly as a result of the blokes he trains with have been already in midsummer type, and fellow Canadiens ahead Tyler Toffoli talked himself out of a protracted break.
“Once I received dwelling, I began understanding like every week after, the place usually I’d in all probability take three weeks-ish earlier than I began getting again into it,” Toffoli mentioned. “I used to be mainly proper again within the fitness center.”
These exercises full, gamers report for physicals Wednesday, with the primary follow periods scheduled for Thursday. Forward is what’s set to be the primary 82-game common season since 2019-20 earlier than the pandemic derailed the NHL and the remainder of the world, and the schedule can even be condensed to slot in an Olympic break in February so hockey’s greatest can go to Beijing.
With that in thoughts and with the NHL nonetheless planning at hand the Cup out once more by the top of June, gamers perceive camp this 12 months is about getting ready for the subsequent grind, as a lot as getting back from the final one.
“I feel you’re going to should ease into it a bit bit this 12 months,” Vegas captain Mark Stone mentioned. “I don’t know if the our bodies are going to be fairly the place they’re presupposed to be but, however we’re fairly excited to get again.”
AP Hockey Author John Wawrow and AP Sports activities Author Dan Gelston contributed.
Observe AP Hockey Author Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno
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