Just a quick heads up to the NFL and MLB — the “bubble” system does, in fact, work.
In its weekly update on testing protocols and results, the NHL announced that there have been no positive tests for COVID-19 since Phase 4 began in Toronto and Edmonton last Sunday — another major step forward after the league announced that zero players tested positive for COVID-19 during the second week of Phase 3 practices across North America.
“The NHL completed the first week of its Phase 4 Return to Play with no positive test results for COVID-19 among the 7,013 tests administered," the statement read. "Testing was administered on a daily basis to all members of the Clubs’ 52-member traveling parties, including Players, during the period from July 27 through August 1. All 24 teams entered the secure zone in Edmonton and Toronto on July 26 for the beginning of Phase 4. The NHL will continue to provide regular updates on COVID-19 testing results."
A heaping portion of credit for the league's restart deservedly goes to the players, coaches, gameday staff and many others that have taken the necessary steps to avoid any major outbreaks — with only a few lapses or testing hiccups forcing the now wide-ranging "unfit to participate" designations from being utilized.
But, especially with now with games in full swing up in Toronto and Edmonton, the NHL also deserves plenty of praise when it comes to establishing a bubble environment designed to keep essential staff occupied and entertained — and most importantly, safe.
Even if the safety measures put in place might seem rather extensive — headlined by that daily testing for hundreds of individuals, including hotel and arena staff — the NHL and NBA's strict protocols have proved to be a prudent move, putting both leagues on their way towards capping off their respective seasons.
Tuukka Rask was the latest "bubble" resident to learn firsthand of the stringent rules placed upon anyone walking in and out of the NHL's pair of "Secure Zones."