Phase three of the NHL restart plan is now in full swing. The Blue Jackets and the 23 other NHL teams involved in the restart, are back on the ice for training camp. The Jackets got to work in Nationwide Monday for their first practice since the season was halted in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The NHL is scheduled to resume its season with a 24-team playoff format in hub cities Edmonton and Toronto beginning August 1st. The Eastern Conference, including the Jackets will play in Toronto, with the CBJ facing the Maple Leafs in a best of five series starting August 2nd. All of this is contingent upon the cooperation of the coronavirus, which continues to threaten the return to play with cases across the country and in some parts of Canada on the rise.
"We know what's going on around us. We know the situation around us. Things could change every 10 minutes as far as what could happen," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said when he met with the media Monday. "We just have to concentrate every day---no complaining---there's going to be adjustments as we go through. Just keep your focus on each and every day."
Assuming the return to play comes off as scheduled, the Jackets will practice in Columbus for the next 10 days before heading to their "Toronto bubble," where they'll continue to prepare for their series with the Maple Leafs. Leading up to that Tortorella says it will be a collaborative effort between the coaching staff and the players.
"I want to find out how they're feeling after a practice, where they think they can go to the next day as far as being pushed. This is different," Tortorella said, referring to this unusual training camp. "We're going to try to get our team in the best shape possible but we have to be really careful not to injure them."
Tortorella talked at length about the return to play, the Jackets health, the competition during camp and more. You can check out all of his comments below as well as the comments of players Nick Foligno and Cam Atkinson.