It nonetheless appears to be like unusual, seeing Jean-Gabriel Pageau within the white, orange and blue of the New York Islanders and Cody Ceci sporting the navy blue of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
There they have been all decked out on Friday, although, returning to the ice for the primary time in 12 weeks because the Minto Enviornment re-opened its doorways to skilled hockey gamers and elite determine skaters.
Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers and Calvin de Haan of the Chicago Blackhawks have been additionally amongst those that skated.
The NHL playoffs are nonetheless a great distance away – coaching camps are anticipated to open in early July, with the spectator-free, 24-team playoff in two nonetheless undisclosed places possible starting later that month – however there was no hiding the passion about some type of summer season post-hockey.
“I’m simply excited to be again on the ice,” Pageau stated earlier than entering into the world. “It’s a step ahead and simply to be out on the ice will really feel good.”
Pageau, who was traded to the Islanders from the Ottawa Senators for a primary spherical draft decide on the commerce deadline in February, has been figuring out at dwelling in Gatineau ever since racing dwelling from New York when pandemic considerations shut down the NHL on March 12. With regards to reaching sport form, nonetheless, there’s no substitute for practising with the blades on.
With a playoff collection towards the Florida Panthers looming, Pageau has no complaints concerning the construction of the 24-team playoff.
“It’s the playoffs,” he stated. “ Everybody likes to play within the playoffs and that’s the purpose of the crew whenever you begin the season, so simply to have that probability is nice.”
Whereas numerous particulars stay, together with the method in the direction of resuming motion and the way gamers might be examined earlier than and after the video games begin, Pageau trusts that the right choices might be made alongside the best way. He was scheduled to be on some cellphone calls later Friday.
“I imagine the authorities will at all times take the suitable choices and that the (NHLPA) and everybody will push in the identical course on the proper time,” he stated. “Proper now, I feel everybody goes to watch out.”
Pageau has a historical past of being a playoff star. In 35 video games with the Senators, he scored 12 targets and 4 assists. That features his four-goal outburst, together with the double-overtime sport winner, towards the New York Rangers within the second spherical of the 2017 playoffs. Pageau additionally scored a hat trick towards the Montreal Canadiens in 2013.
By returning to the Islanders for the playoffs, he’ll obtain a chance to re-set himself. He has but to style a victory in Islanders colors.
Following his commerce from the Senators, the Islanders went Zero-Three-Four, sliding all the way down to the standings to the purpose the place they have been within the hazard of lacking out on the post-season altogether.
“It’s arduous to know what would have occurred,” Pageau stated of the stoop. “For my part, we might have made it. I actually believed in my teammates. For being there for such a brief time period, they’ve gained my confidence already. Not solely the gamers, however the entire group. I’m excited simply to return to New York, however I don’t know when precisely.”