There was a lot of energy and smiles during the Devils’ first full team practice after four days off between the COVID break and winter break. Back on the ice, the five players who were on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list before this break: the forwards Nico hischier and Jesper boqvist, and the defenders PK Subban, Christian Jaros, and Ryan grave.
After their first full return training from COVID, Graves and Hischier discussed their experiences over the past two weeks.
“I feel great, I was lucky I didn’t have any symptoms or anything like that. I just stayed home and took the time needed,” Graves said. “I don’t have any lingering symptoms so I feel great.”
“I had one night of symptoms, but the rest went very well. I feel now, everything is fine,” Hischier said on Sunday. “I think people know they’ve been in quarantine, that’s not what you prefer to do. But it is. I tried not to think about it too much.”
“We’ve been having a bit of a hard time lately and then for not being able to help that you just feel helpless and you feel like you’re letting your teammates down,” Graves said. “But I’m happy to be done with it and to be healthy now, and to overcome it with a nice little break to get everyone back to health.”
Although only five players were absent due to COVID, many more were battling various illnesses unrelated to COVID. The Devils roster was exhausted and struggling in their games against the Philadelphia Flyers, Vegas Golden Knights, Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins. However, with several consecutive days off, the squad are healthy and ready to reset after a losing and difficult six-game slippage last month.
“A lot of guys were missing, everyone was a little sick, not even COVID related,” Hischier said. “It’s a good break for us to hit the reset button and that’s what we’re trying to do to get out of it.
“Every team has to face it, and it’s just good to be back.”