ANAHEIM, Calif. – If they aren't at the arena for a game or working out on the practice ice, there's a good chance Wild players are staring at their cellphones.
"Uber Eats and DoorDash have been very popular," winger Marcus Foligno said.
A week into its season-opening, four-game trip, which wraps Wednesday at Anaheim, the Wild is starting to get the hang of life on the road in 2021.
New rules have been implemented to stay safe while traveling during the pandemic. Although the policy has restricted players' access to the outside world in between games, it's also increased their bonding time.
"You can't go anywhere, so everyone is together," captain Jared Spurgeon said. "Having new guys on the team, you're able to play cards or just hang around and talk. It's definitely been good for the group."
After the NHL agreed to return with a 56-game modified season, the league released 13 pages of travel regulations for each team while on the road.
At the crux of the protocols is a cutback on where personnel can go. Teams can be only at the arena, practice rink and hotel, and every team will use the same hotel in each road city.
Players can walk outside if masked and distanced, but they can't be in a crowd nor engage with the public.
In addition to the NHL's guidelines, teams also must abide by local health regulations, and those can vary from city to city.
While in Los Angeles for its first two games, Wild players couldn't congregate for meals and instead had to eat in their rooms.
But now in Anaheim, they can have breakfast, lunch and dinner in a group setting.
Food is provided at the hotel, but players have also been using room service or delivery apps to get items from restaurants — picking up their order after it's dropped off at the front desk.
"Being on the coast, the sushi is pretty good out here," Foligno said. "We have had a couple orders of the sushi. [And] we might've ordered a Shake Shack here and there."
A serving of vitamin D has also been on the menu.
Since the Wild arrived in Southern California last week, the temperatures have been above average for January — even approaching 90 degrees last weekend.
On Sunday, players were poolside and watched the NFL playoffs on outdoor TVs. And with new faces on the team, the downtime has been a chance for teammates to get better acquainted.
"There's not a ton for us to do in the hotel or daily," winger Jordan Greenway said. "So it's a great time for us to get to know each other, spend some time together, become more of a team [and] find out more about guys and what they do every day."
During a normal season, players might connect at a restaurant or during a team-organized outing. But keeping a low profile on the road is a reminder of what teams are trying to accomplish.
"We're lucky to be here playing when a lot of people aren't," center Nick Bonino said. "We are taken great care of. Everything is as safe as it can be. If we have to take our meals up to our room to eat, I think that's fine. It's definitely something to get used to, but so far it hasn't been an issue.
"We're here to play hockey, and the games are the same on the road except with no fans. But hockey is hockey, and that's what we're focused on. Whatever we need to do to be on the ice playing, I think guys are going to do."
The NHL is announcing daily which players are absent because of COVID-19 protocols, which could mean a positive test, an unconfirmed positive test or quarantine because of close contact among other reasons.
At least 12 players have been identified each day since the NHL opener — including Wild goalie Alex Stalock, who is sidelined indefinitely because of an upper-body injury — but most teams have been able to stick to their schedules.
Dallas is the only club whose debut got delayed by a coronavirus outbreak, and on Tuesday the NHL postponed its first game — a Central Division battle that night between Nashville and Carolina. Five Hurricanes players were later revealed to be unavailable.
"No one wants to really be that guy that doesn't follow the rules and starts spreading [the virus] throughout a locker room," goalie Cam Talbot said. "The season's already condensed enough, so you start pushing games back and stuff like that and having to condense even more, you open yourself up to injuries and playing more back-to-backs and stuff like that.
"So not just from the COVID standpoint, but just from fatigue and keeping your body from wearing down, you don't want to condense the season any more than we have to."
And with its first four games on the road, Wild players received an early education — on the new setup and their new teammates.
"It's been easy to get comfortable with them right away," Foligno said. "We are hoping it keeps going that way and we keep building off our start."