Ryan Pulock scored two times and he added eight assists as he helped the New York Islanders advance to the Eastern Conference final in the Edmonton bubble, where they came up short against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
After Tampa Bay won the Stanley Cup, the biggest question was when the new season would begin. There were rumours that the season would begin on January 1. In the end, the NHL won’t begin its season on January 1; however, it will begin not long after.
The NHL has a plan to begin the new season on January 13.
The season is set to begin on January 13.
— NHL (@NHL) December 20, 2020
For most of the offseason, Ryan was able to hit the ice and train in gyms as he would in any offseason. When Manitoba went under ‘Code Red’ restrictions, that changed as arenas were required to close their doors as were gyms.
This certainly changed how Ryan prepared, but there were no excuses for the Islander.
“I just had to figure things out. I did a lot of things at home, and stayed in shape that way,” said Pulock. “I was pretty fortunate that the weather was nice so I was able to get outside pretty often.”
The Islanders will be in the East Division alongside Boston, Buffalo, New Jersey, the Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Washington. Each team will play 56 games with formal training camps beginning on January 3 with no preseason games.
The Stanley Cup Playoffs will feature 16 teams in a best-of-7, four-round format and conclude around mid-July. The plan is to return to a normal hockey calendar for the 2021-22 season (regular season beginning in October).
“It seems quite crazy to be honest, it has happened quite quickly,” said Pulock. “It’s going to be great to get back at it and sort of have a feeling of normalcy back.”
Ryan has now played in 234 regular-season NHL games — 270 if you include playoffs — and he’s scored 34 times while adding 88 assists. He was well on his way last year to record a career-high in points when the season was ended in March because of the novel coronavirus. Pulock put up 35 points in 68 games and his previous high was 37 points the year prior, in 82 games.
As he continues to prepare for his fourth full season in the NHL, the former Brandon Wheat King is expecting big things.
“Every player’s goal is to always improve. I’m reaching my prime with the aspects of my age and I think it’s important that I continue to take steps and improve,” said Pulock. “My goal is to get to the point where I can dominate the game a little bit.”
The NHL schedule for the 2020-21 season is expected to be released in the near future.