Workouts Resume As NHL, NBA Teams Prepare to Play Next Month

Posted on: June 9, 2020, 09:45h. 

Last updated on: June 10, 2020, 10:45h.

Both the NBA and NHL have taken the next step toward resuming action, as players have started returning to team facilities and begun workouts.

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Members of the Edmonton Oilers take part Monday in the first day of voluntary workouts at Rogers Place (Image: Edmonton Oilers/Twitter)

The NBA’s San Antonio Spurs announced Monday that it accepted players back for voluntary workouts, making it the last team to do so. Meanwhile, Monday marked the first day NHL teams could reopen its facilities for players.

However, some NHL teams, like the Vancouver Canucks, will likely wait before allowing their players back in. reported that only three Canucks – of the hockey variety, we assume – were in Vancouver last week. Half of the Canucks roster remained outside Canada, which requires a 14-day quarantine for those re-entering the Great White North.

Both leagues shut down nearly three months ago because of the coronavirus pandemic just as their regular seasons were winding down.

The voluntary workouts with social distancing will eventually turn into training camps, with 22 NBA teams heading to Walt Disney World by July 7 to get ready for games scheduled to begin July 31. By mid-August, a play-in tournament may decide the final playoff teams, with the NBA Playoffs slated to start on Aug. 18.

NHL summer training camps will likely start on or after July 10. A dozen teams from the Eastern Conference will go to a hub city, while 12 Western Conference squads will go to another to resume play later that month. The top four seeds in each conference will play a Round-robin to determine the top seeds, while teams ranked fifth to 12th in the standings will face-off in best-of-five play-in series to determine the remaining four playoff teams.

The NHL has yet to name the two hub cities. Las Vegas is among 10 cities under consideration.

NHL: Anyone Can Win the Stanley Cup

New York Islanders coach Barry Trotz told MSG Network he’s excited about hockey’s return and likes the play-in/playoff format.

It’s going to be fantastic for the game because you can be in the 12-spot and you have a chance to win the Stanley Cup,” Trotz said. “That’s how close the league is. There’s parity in the league, and if you hit it right, within two months you can be Stanley Cup champions.”

At DraftKings, all 24 NHL teams left have odds no longer than +7500, meaning a $100 winning bet would net $7,500. The current favorites are the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning at +650. The Colorado Avalanche are next at +750, with the Vegas Golden Knights at +800, and the Washington Capitals at +900.

Trotz’ Islanders are currently listed at +4000.

NBA: Durant Not Returning This Season

In the NBA last week, the title odds for the Brooklyn Nets fluctuated greatly after speculation the team could return to play in Orlando with stars Kevin Durant, who has missed the entire season due to an Achilles tendon rupture he suffered in the 2019 NBA Finals, and Kyrie Irving, who underwent shoulder surgery in February.

However, Durant made it clear in a recent interview with ESPN’s The Undefeated that he will not play again until next season, whenever that starts.

Before the Durant announcement, Caesars Sportsbook dropped the Nets title odds to +6000 on the chance the game-changing superstar did return. However, since then, the Nets odds have climbed back to +20000.

The Los Angeles Lakers are the favorites on Caesars’ board at +200. The Milwaukee Bucks are next at +275, and the Los Angeles Clippers are right behind at +325. No other team has odds lower than +1500.