NHL coaches must cover faces

Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice had a hard time to blow a whistle while using a mask. Barry Trotz could not see if among his New york city Islanders gamers was skating towards him since his mask had actually assisted mist up his glasses.

”It was awful there for a while,” Maurice stated. ”There’s some obstacles to it.”

Among the brand-new obstacles for NHL coaches this season is the requirement to use a mask behind the bench throughout video games and on the ice for practices. Now that goaltenders will not be the only masked males around the rink, coaches will discover and change on the fly like those in other sports have actually needed to in current months.

”Simply being around the rink all the time using one is a change, however we’ll work it out,” Joel Quenneville of the Florida Panthers stated. ”In some cases when you actually wish to get your point throughout, you may need to pull your mask to make yourself clear. However I have actually never ever altered lines with a face mask on.”

Hockey coaches are more responsible than their counterparts in baseball, football or basketball to bark out directions in real time at a fast pace, which makes this an even steeper learning curve. Get ready for loud yelling and maybe a few more bench minor penalties for too many men on the ice.

”I used to have a big moustache, maybe that was kind of like a mask,” Dave Tippett of the Edmonton Oilers said. ”I’m a mumbler at the best of times. You’ll have to be really clear with who’s going on line changes.”

One thing that’s clear is most coaches won’t complain about the extra safety measure to prevent virus spread. Quenneville and his staff have talked about NFL coaches being fined for not wearing face coverings correctly and how they have actually adapted.

Commissioner Gary Bettman told coaches and executives that protocols ”are not a suggestion or a recommendation” and the NHL ”will vigorously enforce them.”

”I’m going to have to do my absolute best to make sure it stays on and stays right,” D.J. Smith of the Ottawa Senators stated. ”Ultimately the league’s doing it for a reason, and it’s the safety, and I’ll abide by all the rules.”

So will John Tortorella, who told the Columbus Blue Jackets on the first day of camp he doesn’t want to hear any complaining about health and safety protocols. He said wearing a mask is important and added: ”It doesn’t affect me, it will not affect the other coaches.”

Colleagues also see it as personal responsibility.

”It’s the right move under these circumstances,” David Quinn of the New York Rangers said. ”If it helps a little bit, we should all do it, so certainly our staff is embracing it. Our organization’s embracing it and we’re just going to need to manage it.”

There are some benefits. Maurice suggested keeping the television cameras off him during games because they will not be able to pick up anything he’s saying anyway.

Gone – for now – are the days of reading lips of coaches swearing at officials or each other.

”Probably be good for me,” Peter Laviolette of the Washington Capitals stated. ”Nobody will see what’s coming out of my mouth. My mother will be happy.”

The Canadian Press contributed to this report.

Follow AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno

More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long included to this report.