Major League Baseball and the NBA have returned to action in fan-less venues. The NHL will do the same this weekend.
How will players manage playing in front of, well, no one?
“I’m believing what the players are saying,” former NHL player and current analyst Ron Duguay told Shaun Morash and Andrew Bogusch, who were filling in as hosts of The DA Show. “[Chris] Kreider was asked about it and he said, 'Once you’re on the ice, once you’re playing the game, you’re playing the game. Ice is ice, hockey is hockey, and you’re competing. You want to beat your opponent.’ It actually helps you focus a little better because talking is really important and hearing each other is real important. When you can hear each other – and even hearing your opponents – I think it makes for better hockey because with all the noise, it blocks all that stuff out.”
Sitting on the bench, however, could be a different experience.
“When you sit on the bench and you’re looking out, all the energy is yourselves on the bench,” Duguay said. “There isn’t that other energy happening that maybe you can feed off of. But as far as playing the game, being on the ice, it’s almost better. I do a lot of alumni games, exhibition games. If I play in front of 2,000 people, that’s a lot. Once I step on the ice, I want to score as much as if there’s 10,000 people. I think when you get on the ice, it doesn’t make a difference. It’s just when you get back on the bench, all of a sudden it feels – and it is – quiet. So you have to build and work off your own energy. Players have to be talking to each other. You’ll hear more chatter from the coaches, more communication.”