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The NHL has reached the “play” portion of its Return to Play plan: games in two Canadian “hub cities” beginning Aug. 1. Teams reported to those cities July 26 and will remain in isolation for as long as they are required to be there. They played one exhibition game each prior to the start of the pre-Stanley Cup playoffs schedule, which consists of a qualifying round and round-robin play taking place simultaneously.

Hockey is making its official return to the ice more than four months after the 2019-20 season was suspended March 12 because of the global coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The league and its players agreed to resume play in four phases, with Phase 4, the current phase, being the last step.

Here’s what you need to know about the NHL’s “bubble” and hub city setup: 

What is the NHL bubble & hub cities?

The NHL “bubble” consists of limited areas in two hub cities — Edmonton and Toronto — where team personnel will be required to remain as the league tries to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Each club is taking up one floor in a designated hotel. Other access areas include arenas, practice facilities, dining destinations (hotel restaurants and bars, and conference areas where food is brought in) and “other demarcated areas (indoor and outdoor),” according to the league’s Phase 4 protocols. Individual access will be decided by the person’s role with the club.

MORE: NHL playoff bracket 2020

Where is the NHL bubble?

The NHL bubble, unlike the NBA bubble in Orlando, is in two hub cities: Edmonton (for Western Conference teams) and Toronto (for Eastern Conference teams). Games will be played at Edmonton’s Rogers Place and Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena without spectators.

NHL bubble & hub city teams

The NHL has brought 24 teams, 12 in each conference, to the hub cities. The top four teams in each conference based on regular-season records will compete in a round-robin to determine their seeding for the Stanley Cup playoffs. Teams in the fifth through 12th positions in each conference will compete in a best-of-five qualifying round to determine the remainder of the playoff field.
Below are the 24 teams in the NHL bubble and hub cities based on the standings at the time NHL commissioner Gary Bettman declared the regular season over on May 26, or 2 1/2 months after the season was suspended on March 12. Positions were set by points percentage, since not all teams played the same number of games.

NHL standings 2019-20 Eastern Conference Rank Team W L OTL Points Points pct
1 Bruins 44 14 12 100 .714
2 Lightning 43 21 6 92 .657
3 Capitals 41 20 8 90 .652
4 Flyers 41 21 7 89 .645
5 Penguins 40 23 6 86 .623
6 Hurricanes 38 25 5 81 .596
7 Islanders 35 23 10 80 .588
8 Maple Leafs 36 25 9 81 .579
9 Blue Jackets 33 22 15 81 .579
10 Panthers 35 22 15 81 .565
11 Rangers 37 28 5 79 .564
12 Canadiens 31 31 9 71 .500
Western Conference Rank Team W L OTL Points Points pct
1 Blues 42 19 10 94 .662
2 Avalanche 42 20 8 92 .657
3 Golden Knights 39 24 8 86 .606
4 Stars 37 24 8 82 .594
5 Oilers 37 25 9 83 .585
6 Predators 35 26 8 78 .565
7 Canucks 36 27 6 78 .565
8 Flames 36 27 7 79 .564
9 Jets 37 28 6 80 .563
10 Wild 36 27 7 77 .558
11 Coyotes 33 29 8 74 .529
12 Blackhawks 32 30 8 72 .514
NHL qualifying round matchups Eastern Conference

(5) Penguins vs. (12) Canadiens
(6) Hurricanes vs. (11) Rangers
(7) Islanders vs. (10) Panthers
(8) Maple Leafs vs. (9) Blue Jackets

Western Conference

(5) Oilers vs. (12) Blackhawks
(6) Predators vs. (11) Coyotes
(7) Canucks vs. (10) Wild
(8) Flames vs. (9) Jets

NHL teams not in the bubble & hub cities

Seven teams did not advance to the qualifying round in the NHL bubble and hub cities based on their records. Their 2019-20 seasons ended when the NHL’s Return to Play plan was approved. The non-bubble/hub city teams are the Red Wings, Senators, Devils and Sabres in the East; and the Sharks, Kings and Ducks in the West.

MORE: NHL restart TV schedule

Number of people per team in the NHL bubble & hub cities

Teams were allowed to bring 31 players and as many as 52 people (including ownership, executives, coaches and staff) total to their hub city hotel. Traveling parties will stay together at team hotels, but each person will have their own room and no one can visit another room. Guests will not be allowed inside the NHL hub city bubble until the conference finals in September in Edmonton, where family members can reunite with players.

COVID-19 testing in the NHL bubble & hub cities

According to, players will undergo testing and temperature and symptom checks daily during Phase 4. People who are in the bubble (the league is calling it the “secure zone”) must wear protective masks whenever they are outside their hotel rooms, but they can remove them while exercising, playing, eating or drinking. Social distancing must be maintained “in all circumstances in which it is feasible,” per the league’s protocols.

Any member of a team’s traveling party who develops COVID-19 symptoms is required to inform a club representative immediately and then self-isolate. The club’s physician will examine the person and then decide in tandem with the club’s infectious disease specialist and the league’s event medical director whether to conduct PCR testing. Club personnel are also required to inform medical personnel if they come into contact with anyone they suspect has COVID-19.

In the case of symptoms and/or a positive test, the person will be isolated in their hotel room if they are in it at the time, or be sent to a designated isolation area if they are outside their room within the secure zone and medically stable. If they are “acutely ill or medically unstable,” then medical personnel “shall arrange appropriate clinical follow up, treatment and care.”

As for when those who test positive can exit isolation after a positive test: It’s complicated. The abbreviated version:

Asymptomatic persons: Ten days after the first positive test if the person has remained asymptomatic; or after two consecutive negative respiratory tests in a period of 24 or more hours.

Persons who display symptoms at the time of testing or during self-isolation: No fever or respiratory symptoms over a 72-hour period, if the person has been in self-isolation for at least 10 days since the onset of symptoms; or two consecutive negative tests plus a resolution of any fever (without the use of fever-reducing medications) and an improvement in respiratory symptoms.

Physicians treating people in isolation must “conclude that the person no longer presents a risk of infection to others, and that it is medically appropriate (given individual and local circumstances) to terminate the requirement for self-isolation.” Further, “the termination of the isolation requirement must be consistent with applicable local public health regulations or other requirements.”

MORE: NHL fans are kneeling at home because players aren’t protesting during anthem

Can a player leave the NHL bubble & hub cities?

Yes, but only in a limited number of cases, per medical reasons, extenuating circumstances (such as the birth of a child or an illness or death in the family), or a family event such as a wedding. When a player returns to the secure zone, he will be quarantined in his hotel room and then need to test negative at least four consecutive times over a four-day period.

What happens if a player leaves the bubble without permission?

The player can be removed from the secure zone upon returning, or he can be quarantined for 10-14 days and subjected to “enhanced testing and monitoring.” Teams can be fined and/or lose draft picks for unauthorized departures from the bubble.

NHL bubble & hub city schedule

A maximum of six games per day will be played in NHL hub cities during qualifying round and round-robin competition, with tripleheaders in each arena. The qualifying round begins Aug. 1; round-robin play begins Aug 2. This segment of the NHL’s return to play will end Aug. 9.

Below is a day-by-day schedule for the qualifying rounds and round-robin seeding games in the NHL bubble and hub cities through Aug. 9.

NHL qualifying round & round-robin schedules

(All times Eastern)

Saturday, Aug. 1

Rangers vs. Hurricanes, Game 1, in Toronto, noon
Blackhawks vs. Oilers, Game 1, in Edmonton, 3 p.m.
Panthers vs. Islanders, Game 1, in Toronto, 4 p.m.
Canadiens vs. Penguins, Game 1, in Toronto, 8 p.m.
Jets vs. Flames, Game 1, in Edmonton,10:30 p.m.

Sunday, Aug. 2

Coyotes vs. Predators, Game 1, in Edmonton, 2 p.m.
Flyers vs. Bruins, round-robin, in Toronto, 3 p.m.
Blues vs. Avalanche, round-robin, in Edmonton, 6:30 p.m.
Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs, Game 1, in Toronto, 8 p.m.
Wild vs. Canucks, Game 1, in Edmonton, 10:30 p.m.

Monday, Aug. 3

Rangers vs. Hurricanes, Game 2, noon
Jets vs. Flames, Game 2, 2:30 p.m.
Capitals vs. Lightning, round-robin, in Toronto, 4 p.m.
Stars vs. Golden Knights, round-robin, in Edmonton, 6:30 p.m.
Canadiens vs. Penguins, Game 2, 8 p.m.
Blackhawks vs. Oilers, Game 2, 10:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Aug. 4

Panthers vs. Islanders, Game 2, noon
Coyotes vs. Predators, Game 2, 2:30 p.m.
Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs, Game 2, 4 p.m.
Flames vs. Jets, Game 3, 6:45 p.m.
Hurricanes vs. Rangers, Game 3, 8 p.m.
Wild vs. Canucks, Game 2, 10:45 p.m.

Wednesday, Aug. 5

Islanders vs. Panthers, Game 3, noon
Predators vs. Coyotes, Game 3, 2:30 p.m.
Lightning vs. Bruins, round-robin, 4 p.m.
Avalanche vs. Stars, round-robin, 6:30 p.m.
Penguins vs. Canadiens, Game 3, 8 p.m.
Oilers vs. Blackhawks, Game 3, 10:30 p.m.

Thursday, Aug. 6

Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets, Game 3, TBD
Hurricanes vs. Rangers, Game 4*, TBD
Capitals vs. Flyers, round-robin, TBD
Canucks vs. Wild, Game 3, TBD
Flames vs. Jets, Game 4*, TBD
Golden Knights vs. Blues, round-robin, TBD

Friday, Aug. 7

Islanders vs. Panthers, Game 4*, TBD
Penguins vs. Canadiens, Game 4*, TBD
Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets, Game 4*, TBD
Predators vs. Coyotes, Game 4*, TBD
Canucks vs. Wild, Game 4*, TBD
Oilers vs. Blackhawks, Game 4*, TBD

Saturday, Aug. 8

Rangers vs. Hurricanes, Game 5*, TBD
Canadiens vs. Penguins, Game 5*, TBD
Bruins vs. Capitals, round-robin, TBD
Jets vs. Flames, Game 5*, TBD
Blackhawks vs. Oilers, Game 5*, TBD
Golden Knights vs. Avalanche, round-robin, TBD

Sunday, Aug. 9

Panthers vs. Islanders, Game 5*, TBD
Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs, Game 5*, TBD
Flyers vs. Lightning, round-robin, TBD
Wild vs. Canucks, Game 5*, TBD
Coyotes vs. Predators, Game 5*, TBD
Stars vs. Blues, round-robin, TBD

* If necessary

The Stanley Cup playoffs will begin after the conclusion of the qualifying round and round-robin play. All four rounds of the playoffs will be best of seven. The Stanley Cup Final is tentatively set to begin Sept. 22 and end as late as Oct. 4.

The NHL Draft (Oct. 9-10) and free agency (which could start as late as Oct. 13) will follow the completion of the Stanley Cup Final. The 2020-21 NHL regular season is tentatively set to begin Dec. 1, 2020.

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What did Robin Williams say about Donald Trump?

BELOVED comedian Robin Williams once called Donald Trump a "scary man" in a stand-up segment in 2012.

The late comedian, who committed suicide in 2014, had a number of things to say about President Trump, as well as Joe Biden, in his stand up specials.

9Robin Williams discusses Joe Biden in his stand-up specialCredit: HBO

Williams' daughter Zelda recently responded to Eric Trump Jr after he reposted a clip of her father making light of Joe Biden.

What did Robin’s daughter Zelda say about Eric Trump’s tweet?

Robin William's daughter Zelda Williams responded to Donald Trump's son Eric Trump after he retweeted a video of her late father mocking Joe Biden in a stand-up special.

9Zelda and Robin WilliamsCredit: AP:Associated Press

The video shows Williams making fun of Biden's cognition.

9Credit: Twitter

"While we’re ‘reminiscing’ (to further your political agenda), you should look up what he said about your Dad. I did. Promise you, it’s much more ‘savage’" she wrote.

"Gentle reminder that the dead can’t vote, but the living can."

What did Robin Williams say about Donald Trump?

Twitter users responded to Eric's post with a clip of Williams discussing the president during a stand-up performance in 2012.

9Eric Trump JrCredit: Getty - Contributor

Williams described Trump as "a scary man" in the segment about spending Thanksgiving in Atlantic City.

Williams likened him to "the Wizard of Oz" because "he plays monopoly with real f***ing buildings."

9Williams called Trump 'f***ing wrong'Credit: AP:Associated Press

He then went on to reference comments Trump had made about his daughter's attractiveness.

"This is a man who said 'my daughter is hot.' Even people in Arkansas went 'that's f***ing wrong. That's just way out of place,'" he said.

9Williams went on to make fun of Trump's hairCredit: AP:Associated Press

"And that f***ing hair, my god," he continued.

"I believe the hair is 'the Donald.' I believe the body is the maintenance system for the hair."

What is the old clip about Robin mocking Joe Biden?

The Robin Williams clip mocking Joe Biden in 2009 has resurfaced on social media as the sixth anniversary of the comedian's death nears.

The snippet is from Williams' HBO special Weapons of Self Destruction in which he nicknames the then-vice president "rambling Joe."

9Williams nicknamed Biden 'rambling Joe'Credit: AP:Associated Press

"We still have comedy though, we still have great comedy out there," Robin Williams tells a laughing crowd.

"There's always rambling Joe Biden. What the f***.

"Joe says s**t that even people with Tourette's go, 'No, no. What is going on?'"

9The clip has gone viral on TwitterCredit: Twitter

The stand-up routine continued: "Joe is like your uncle who is on a new drug and hasn't got the dosage right."

The clip has now gone viral with fans tweeting that if Williams were still alive today, he'd have even more material to work with.

Who was Robin Williams?

Robin Williams was a comedian and actor, noted as one of the world's greatest comics

  • Robin McLaurin Williams was born on July 21, 1951, and had two older half-brothers
  • He stopped pursuing his political science degree to study acting and his first role at college was as Fagin in Oliver!
  • He studied at the prestigious Juilliard School in New York.
  • Williams says the stress of stand-up triggered his alcohol and drug dependency early in his career
  • Williams's publicist has said her client was suffering from "severe depression" prior to his death.

"He'd have even more ammunition with Joe Biden at present, as the guy cant keep it together at the rallies. But yes miss Robin Williams humour," one Twitter user said.

"I'm telling you all right now, you may love the packaging, but the present inside is the same guy Robin Williams skewered, as I was reminded today. He's still cranky, hostile to questioning, anti-progressive, jail-filling, law-hardening, not Trump," another replied.

What was Robin Williams net worth when he died?

Williams was one of the world's best-loved actors and comedians at the time of his sudden and unexpected death in 2014.

The talented actor wowed audiences with his dynamic performances before depression took a hold of him toward the end of his life.

He died at the age of 63, on August 11, 2014, at his home in Paradise Cay, California.

9Williams was reportedly almost bankrupt before he diedCredit: Getty Images - Getty

The Chicago-born actor committed suicide after being misdiagnosed with Parkinson's and falling into a state of depression.

At the time of his death, he was reportedly worth around $50million despite grossing $5billion in his lifetime according to

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Allegedly, Williams was on the brink of bankruptcy due to multiple divorces.

“Divorce is expensive,” Williams, who was married to his third wife at the time of his death, explained to Parade Magazine.

“I used to joke they were going to call it ‘all the money,’ but they changed it to ‘alimony.’ It’s ripping your heart out through your wallet.”

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