Laundry, dishes and good points by Sean Couturier on looming questions for NHL

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As the NHL on Tuesday inevitably extended its self-quarantine recommendation to April 30, Sean Couturier was asked if he was optimistic about the chances of the 2019-20 season resuming.

“Trying to be," Couturier said on a conference call. "That’s my mindset anyway. Trying to stay in shape — if ever we start again, I’m ready as much as possible."

The coronavirus outbreak has put the league and its players in a precarious state. There is no definitive plan or timeframe for how or when the suspended season might return, nor can there be right now during such a pandemic. In the NHL's hopes of finishing this season and awarding the Stanley Cup, the 2019-20 campaign could go deep into the summer, which would have a trickle-down effect on the players' preparation for 2020-21.

"That’s the toughest part of getting ready or staying in shape because there’s no set date," Couturier said in a video interview with NBC Sports Philadelphia's Taryn Hatcher. "You don’t really know when to get prepared for, usually you have three months to kind of get ready for the next season.

“It’s just so much unknown, it’s tough to get ready. You want to get ready for if we play the playoffs, and then a month after the playoffs, we might be starting the next season. That’s another way you’ve got to think, you want to be ready for the whole next season, it’s a long season, 82 games. It’s going to be interesting to see what’s going to happen, even going next year.”

Couturier, a put-your-head-down, no-excuse kind of worker, is making the best of the situation.

“I’m going up and down the stairs doing some laundry, doing some dishes — that’s my training right now," Couturier joked. "But seriously, every day I’m going for a walk or run, just home workouts — body weights, push-ups, sit-ups, kind of old-school workouts when you’re growing up doing it at home.

"It’s not ideal but it is what it is. Just trying to be as prepared as I can with the circumstances we are in.”

The break has kept the Flyers' team text message chain busy, with the chatter led by the outgoing Kevin Hayes, according to his teammate.

"I’m sure you guys probably guessed that one," Couturier said with a laugh. "He’s pretty vocal in that group.

"We have a big group chat. It gets going every day. There’s something new from someone. I’m not too big of a text guy so I try to read [the conversations] more than I actually text. It’s good to stay in touch, stay connected and see what guys are doing."

Regarding the NHL's conversations about 2019-20 and 2020-21, even a hopeful guy like Couturier can admit there are big questions ahead and no real answers in sight.

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