Kyle Palmieri discusses Devils' coronavirus pause, return

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Garrett Stepien
·3 min read
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Kyle Palmieri March 2020
Kyle Palmieri March 2020

After a two-week coronavirus pause, the Devils return to action Tuesday with a 7 p.m. game against the Rangers at MSG.

Following five postponements, right wing Kyle Palmieri offered an honest perspective on the Devils' past 15 days.

"I think, as a team, we've been super conscious of wearing masks and we've been under the protocol where we haven't been having our meals in team rooms or anything like that," Palmieri said Monday. "So I think we were doing everything we could to stop this spread. But, at the end of the day, we're spending an hour -- two hours, whatever -- over the course of the game next to each other on a bench breathing heavily.

"And playing hockey's a tough sport -- you're coming back and you're pretty gassed and you're trying to catch your breath, so that's a lot of close contacts, heavy breathing. And (if) you follow enough and read enough about this virus -- that's probably one of the worst things you can do is long, extended times of heavy breathing amongst people without masks on.

"So I think what happened was -- I don't know, it wasn't really avoidable. It was just the nature of the game we play and the confines that we do play in. So I think it's nothing that we can look back and to our own fault. I think we've been doing a great job of making sure we have masks on, social distancing and making sure that we have all the protocols in place that when we have the opportunity to control those situations, we have. So, like I said, I'm not a scientist or a doctor. But that's really all I've got for you."

The Devils (4-3-2) get the Rangers (4-6-3) on a three-game losing streak. Last time out, the Devils pulled off a 5-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres as they snapped a three-game skid of their own.

"Today was really the first time getting back into a team-structured practice -- so, I mean, there's going to be mistakes made tomorrow," Palmieri said. "I think everyone's excited to get back and get back to playing. We had a good thing going before this ... so it's not going to turn on like a light switch and be right back to where you are, but we've just got to focus on making sure we come out.

"And I'm sure the energy's going to be high, and it's a Devils-Rangers game. I think, emotionally, we've going to be ready to go. But there'll be some rust that we might need to knock off after not practicing or doing much for 14-15 days. So I think we're looking forward to the challenge and just happy to be back and playing hockey and be around our teammates again."