The looming Stanley Cup Finals will mark the last of 2020’s bubble-hub series – for now. As an Edmontonian, it is still strange to have such meaningful games being played 15 minutes away and not having any chance of being in the building to watch. For obvious reasons, access to the bubble in Edmonton and Toronto was highly restricted. As such, NHL bubble life is likely a ‘you had to be there’ type of situation.
Luckily, there is a great discussion on a recent Puck Pursuit podcast about life inside the Toronto bubble. John Matisz has a great conversation with Columbus Blue Jacket forward Nathan Gerbe. Specifically, Gerbe discussed his mindset while inside the Toronto bubble – or in his own words, life inside the ‘luxury prison.’ At only 5’4, Gerbe also speaks about his overall mental approach to the game of hockey, and life.
Gerbe was determined and fueled by critics that doubted him at every level because of his size. Being vertically challenged meant the Boston College alumni had to continually develop good mental strength habits throughout his career. A career that now includes 148 points in 426 NHL games, and a recently signed two-way deal earlier in 2020.
The podcast is a great listen and also contains valuable content for young hockey players.
Gerbe may have maintained a positive approach to life in the bubble, but other players have voiced a different opinion about the experience. With only three teams left in the 2020 Bubble, Sportsnet’s Elliott Friedman has suggested that players from eliminated teams would rather not do hubs or bubbles or fan-less games again. That sentiment could potentially spill into future negotiations should enclosed venues (read: every NHL facility) continue to be hampered by social distancing restrictions.
Friedman on Writers Bloc: "I don't think teams want to play next year until there is some sort of path towards attendance. I don't think players want bubbles again, I don't think they want any part of it."— NHL Watcher (@NHL_Watcher) September 15, 2020
What will happen if the NHL is forced back into Bubbleville?