Connor McDavid had enough time between training in his home gym and searching his team's group chats to think about what the NHL should do if there was time to save the season.
And the captain of the Edmonton Oilers has strong thoughts about being able to jump straight into the playoffs if the COVID-19 break doesn't take too long.
"Obviously a fair season is a full season. If we could, I would prefer that, of course," said McDavid of the possibility of simply canceling the rest of the regular season.
"But I don't think we can just get into the playoffs. Game 1, Calgary comes to Edmonton, and the boys just run around and kill each other and haven't played a game in two months. It becomes the Stockton will." Heat against the Bakersfield Condors, if that's the case. We want to keep the boys healthy and make sure everyone is ready to play playoff hockey. "
McDavid's rare openness came at a video conference organized by the League on Friday with Mark Giordano, Bo Horvat and Oliver Ekman-Larsson, captains of the Pacific Division.
Horvat's team is in an interesting situation as the league is debating what a return could be like because the Canucks are ninth in points but would be a top 8 squad based on the percentage of win.
"To make it completely fair, you would play more regular seasonal games, but it is certainly difficult to make this call," said Horvat.
"You can't eliminate teams that score and things like that," added Giordano to help the Canucks plight.
"I think you're playing 12 against 12 or more teams this year, and maybe a few byes at the top to play it out. I think it's going to be difficult to get into a playoff game right now. Even if we could get a couple (regular season games) beforehand, it would be nice. Realistically, I don’t think we’ll have that time (for the regular season to play out), but we’ll see how long it takes. ”
One thing the group agreed on was that the entertainment value could be all-time high if there was a chance to distribute the Stanley Cup with a compressed playoff.
"If we can ever play again, I think this will be one of the best playoffs ever, because every team will have all of their boys healthy and ready," said Giordano.
"They will really play the best version of each team. If we can get through this as a community and as a group of NHLers, we will prepare for pretty good hockey."
This would certainly be the case if the Oilers and Flames competed against each other in the opening round, as the current ranking would dictate.
"That would be pretty fun," said McDavid, whose second-placed Oilers played four of the league's most memorable games of the season against the third-placed Flames.
"We have had a lot of games that have been meaningless (in the past few years), but with such narrow things the fans always come in and they are always fun. This year they were pretty wild, hopefully we will play here again and see maybe even in the playoffs. "
Nothing would make hockey fans happier.
"Definitely fun," added Giordano from his home in Calgary.
"For most of my career it wasn't like that with both teams in these playoffs. So that's a lot better for the game and it's a lot more fun to play these games. We had some good ones this year, so we hope we can continue like this. "
McDavid rejected the idea that the 15-day break has had an impact on his knee so far because he says he is 100 percent healthy. He has the luxury of having a gym in his Edmonton home to continue his workout while at the same time running outside with teammate Darnell Nurse.
Giordano said he had some exercise equipment at home, but largely relied on bodyweight exercises like old school pushups to stay active.
Horvat is back in his native Ontario with his pregnant wife, who is expecting her first child this summer.
In his spare time, Horvat said he tried to paint on Thursday.
"Painted the kindergarten – painted for the first time, so a bit rough on the edges," he laughed.
Giordano cooked with the help of a set of food from Hello Fresh, which he described as tasty, but did little to stem his aversion to cleaning up afterwards.
Players said they were all keeping in touch through team chats with teammates who produced "ridiculous" photos and tweets to replace the daily joke they all miss so much.
Sign up for the NHL newsletter
Get the best of our NHL coverage and exclusive offers straight to your inbox!
For one thing, Giordano has not lost his ability to throw out a little trash talk.
"I don't know why everyone thinks they're so fast – I think they're actually quite slow, especially Connor," said Giordano when the panelists were asked what they don't miss when they play against you another.
"It is difficult to adjust my gap space – I have to slow it down a bit there."
He then aimed at goalkeeper David Rittich as the player with whom he least wanted to be quarantined.
"He crushes a lot of pepsi and pop and the like," Giordano said of the team's favorite whip boy.
"And half the time he screams at me on the ice and I have no idea what he's saying."
McDavid said he would avoid quarantining with Zack Kassian because he has too much energy. Horvat chose Jake Virtanen and left it at that.
As community leaders, all four players wanted to recognize medical personnel for their exemplary service at a critical time.
"Thank you to all of the medical staff – the doctors and nurses and everyone who is really at risk of helping the common good," said Giordano.
"Social distancing and all that stuff, we know we have to do it. It is frustrating and disappointing for us, but we have to do what is right. We know we can get through this."
"Obviously we miss you, the fans," he said.
"I cannot thank the medical staff and the people at the front enough to take over this head. To put yourself in danger and to help others who are in dire need of help. Hopefully we can find a solution. " this thing quickly and again on the ice for our fans because I know they miss it and so do we. "