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Distanced Training: Sabres’ Eichel on being home, staying in shape

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The Jac Collinsworth digital series, “Distanced Training: Ready to Get Back in the Game” debuted this week with Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel as one of his first guests.

The multi-episode series will provide fans with the opportunity to experience a day in the life of top professional and collegiate athletes through exclusive home footage. The daily shows will be available across NBC Sports’ digital properties, including NBC Sports’ YouTube channel, NBCSports.com, the NBC Sports app, and NBC Sports’ social media accounts.

Each 30-minute episode will see Collinsworth exploring how athletes stay physically and mentally sharp as they adapt their training under social distancing guidelines. Throughout the series, he’ll be joined virtually by more than 20 professional, collegiate and Olympic athletes, who will share their weekly home workouts, mental training, and daily spare time activities.

Eichel, along with Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph, joined Collinsworth in the premiere episode. You can watch the Eichel interview in the video above, or check out the entire episode here:

Wed., Apr. 1
Episode 1
Jack Eichel
Kyle Rudolph (Minnesota Vikings tight end)

Thurs., Apr. 2
Episode 2
Julian Okwara (Notre Dame defensive lineman)
Paul Rabil (Premier Lacrosse League co-founder and Atlas midfielder)

Fri., Apr. 3
Episode 3
Kendall Coyne Schofield
Michael Schofield (NFL offensive lineman and Super Bowl 50 champion)
James Hinchcliffe (NBC Sports motorsports analyst and INDYCAR driver for Andretti Autosport)

Future featured guests include:
Aric Almirola, NASCAR driver of the No. 10 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing
• U.S. Sevens team co-captain Abby Gustaitis and her husband, NBC Sports analyst and former Aviva Premiership Rugby player, Alex Corbisiero
• NBC Sunday Night Football sideline reporter Michele Tafoya

MORE: Eichel, Bauer team up to donate much-needed medical equipment

Our Line Starts podcast: Bauer’s COVID-19 efforts; best NHL rosters

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Liam McHugh, Patrick Sharp, and Keith Jones are joined by special guest Mary-Kay Messier, VP of Global Marketing at Bauer Hockey. Messier describes how the company has quickly pivoted from making hockey helmet visors, to creating medical face shields that will soon be implemented in hospitals across North America to combat the spread of COVID-19. Plus, Sharp’s experience playing a shortened NHL season, and a debate about which teams have the best rosters in the league right now.

0:00-14:00 Interview with Bauer’s Mary-Kay Messier
14:00-19:30 Mixed opinions on resuming play with regular season or playoffs
19:30-20:30 Sharp remembers playing in the shortened 2012-13 season
22:15-24:15 The guys debate which four teams have the best rosters in the NHL

Where else you can listen:

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/id1482681517

Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/nbc-sports/our-line-starts

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/7cDMHBg6NJkQDGe4KHu4iO?si=9BmcLtutTFmhRrNNcMqfgQ

NBC Sports on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/nbcsports

Mary-Kay Messier on Bauer making medical shields to battle coronavirus

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As the fight continues against the coronavirus, there are some companies stepping up to help the brave medical professionals across the globe. Equipment manufacturer Bauer has switched from making hockey gear like visors to protective shields.

Bauer VP of global marketing Mary-Kay Messier joined the Our Line Starts podcast this week to discuss the company’s production transition and how others are aiding them in making protective gear.

You can listen to the rest of this week’s podcast here:

Where else you can listen:

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/id1482681517

Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/nbc-sports/our-line-starts

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/7cDMHBg6NJkQDGe4KHu4iO?si=9BmcLtutTFmhRrNNcMqfgQ

NBC Sports on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/nbcsports

***

Follow this NBC News live update thread for more on the coronavirus pandemic.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

PHT Morning Skate: Rask downplays retirement; Can hockey be summer sport?

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Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.com.

• Tuukka Rask is downplaying reports about him wanting to retire. (WEEI)

• The NHL shouldn’t be in a hurry to cancel their season. (Ottawa Sun)

• Aleksander Barkov feels like it wouldn’t be right for the Panthers not to qualify for the playoffs. (TSN)

• The NHL pause is just another obstacle the Blue Jackets have to face. (The Hockey News)

• The Flames and Oilers will have temporary layoffs. (CTV News)

• Todd McLellan wanted to see how his reenergized team would have done down the stretch. (LA Times)

• Whether the NHL season resumes or not, the ‘Canes have a lot to be proud of. (News & Observer)

• The Maple Leafs will give Nicholas Robertson every opportunity to make their team next season. (Leafs Nation)

• Can hockey be a summer sport? (Tampa Times)

• Canucks Army spoke to former goalie Corey Hirsch. (Canucks Army)

• The Flyers are trying to stay ready for a possible season. (NBC Sports Philly)

• It sounds like the World Hockey Championship won’t be making a stop in Switzerland after all. (Swiss Hockey News)

• Here’s a ranking of all the Carolina Hurricanes jerseys. (Hockey by Design)

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

NHL extends self-quarantine guideline until April 15

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The NHL has extended its guideline for players and staff to self-quarantine until April 15 and it is possible the coronavirus pandemic could push that back even further.

Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly confirmed the extension to the Associated Press in an email Tuesday. It adds an extra 11 days to the previous guidance of April 4, which Daly last week acknowledged was “a meaningless date” because of the rapidly changing situation.

“As we get closer to the date, we’re going to have to make decisions as to what to do then,” Daly said. “We’re biting this off in chunks.”

The NHL put its season on pause March 12 with 189 regular-season games remaining. Commissioner Gary Bettman said then he was optimistic of resuming the season and awarding the Stanley Cup.

The timeline for doing that still isn’t clear. The NHL has asked teams for arena availability dates through August, so it wouldn’t be inconceivable to see hockey last deep into the summer.

“Depending on how the country, the world handles the virus, I think there is a possibility of playing end of June, July, August,” Washington Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said Monday.

Several things have to happen first. President Donald Trump extended U.S. social distancing guidelines through the end of April, and the NHL said it will evaluate the situation 45 days into the CDC’s eight-week recommendation against gatherings of 50-plus people that runs until mid-May.

The NHL’s chief medical officer said getting players together in small groups is the first step toward potentially resuming the season. State, provincial and local lockdown regulations could affect the re-opening of team practice facilities for informal skates.

So far, four NHL players have tested positive for COVID-19: two each from the Colorado Avalanche and Ottawa Senators.

MacLellan said his staff is preparing for what small-group practices might look like.

“We’ve talked about that scenario taking place where we get on the other side of the virus curve and there’s beginnings of you can have small groups,” MacLellan said. “Could we structure something at (our facility) where we’re bringing in three, four guys at a time, how do we handle sanitizing the training room, the equipment room.”