We don’t have an official plan yet for the 2020-21 NHL season, but players are itching to get going.
Rumors are swirling that the new season could begin as early as Jan. 13, with training camps opening Jan. 3. Players around the league are now starting to make their way back to their club cities, aiming to ensure that they’ll be strong off the starting blocks when the new season begins.
Carter Hart Returns
The timing worked out well for goaltender Carter Hart, who has spent his offseason in the Edmonton area, New NHL season could begin as early as January 13here he grew up. With Covid-19 case numbers now at a high level in Alberta, the provincial government brought in a new series of restrictions on Sunday that includes the closure of ice rinks, gyms, and other indoor fitness facilities.
Hart told host Jason Myrtetus on the Dec. 14 edition of the ‘Flyers Daily’ podcast that he likes to be in-market about a month before the season begins.
While he has been home in Alberta, Hart has been working regularly with his longtime goalie coach, Dustin Schwartz, in tandem with his friend Tristan Jarry of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Despite the fierce rivalry between the Flyers and Penguins, “The sessions here have been awesome,” Hart said. “We’ve had some great shooters. (Connor) McDavid came out a couple of times, and we’ve had a couple of other guys, (like) Jake DeBrusk.”
Hart Off The Ice
Off the ice, Hart spent a lot of time on the golf course until the weather turned in Edmonton in mid-October. Since then, his preferred recreational pastime has been indoor tennis.
He has also been playing his guitar, which he famously brought with him into the bubble in Toronto this summer.
“It actually got a lot better,” he said of his guitar skills. “This year, with all the downtime, it gave me extra time to really work on it and practice.
“I can actually play some full songs through, so it’s a lot more fun right now. I’m at the part where I’m trying to work on singing and playing at the same time. It’s actually so hard!”
Coming into his third NHL season, the 22-year-old is looking to build on the promising start to his pro career that has made the Flyers’ goaltending a strength, instead of a perpetual cause for concern. He finished the regular season with a 2.42 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage. In the playoffs, he was even better, at 2.23 and .926, with two shutouts. In the bubble, the Flyers won their first playoff round since 2012 and were one game away from advancing to the Eastern Conference Final for the first time since 2010.
Asked if he had a favourite save from the 2019-20 season, Hart chose this stop from Philadelphia’s home opener — a 4-0 win over the New Jersey Devils.
Carter Hart with a ridiculous save to rob Taylor Hall on a 5-on-3 pic.twitter.com/M1eAnM5ROE
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) October 10, 2019
“That was my first shutout,” Hart said. “And now, having seen that Doc Emrick’s retiring, I know he called that play, called that game. So I think that’s something that’s really cool.”
The Voorhees Group Grows
Oskar Lindblom and Robert Hagg are also now back in the area and have joined the practice group that has been working out at the Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, New Jersey.
That group also includes prospects Carsen Twarynski and Tanner Laczynski. They’ve already been in town for more than two months, hoping to earn some extra credit and be as prepared as possible when the competition for roster spots begins in earnest.
Defenseman Ivan Provorov has also been working out and was spotted last week in the team’s flashy new Reverse Retro jersey.
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) December 7, 2020
The targeted date for opening night is barely four weeks away. It’s hoped that the league and the Players’ Association can finalize the season details and in time for both sides to vote before the end of this week.