For the Dallas Stars, things are about to be a lot different.
"My dogs are going to be a little weirded out when I'm gone now because they've seen me so much and more walks than usual because I'm always in town," said Stars center Tyler Seguin.
After months without games and then quarantining in North Texas the last few weeks for training camp, the Stars will now leave town as a team Sunday, traveling to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, for the NHL's round-robin tournament that could go into October.
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"This is something that clearly no one has been through," said Stars head coach Rick Bowness. "The intensity is clearly going to be far greater. You're going right into it."
Right into the downtown Edmonton "bubble" where teams will stay in four hotels that feature 14 restaurants, 8 movie theaters and 13 fitness centers, among other amenities. The NHL will not, however, allow players' families inside the bubble until at least early September – which is a challenge for Stars goaltender Ben Bishop, whose son was born last month.
"Obviously the circumstances aren't the best right now, but it's something that we have to do," said Bishop. "We get a chance to go win the Stanley Cup and I'm excited about that. But the family part is going to be hard. It's just kind of the cards we've been dealt right now."
Very different cards, and very different circumstances beginning this Sunday, as the Dallas Stars prepare for a trip to Edmonton they hope concludes with the franchise's second Stanley Cup trophy.