CBC Sports' Rob Pizzo highlights hockey's Black trailblazers:

Willie O'Ree broke the league's colour barrier in 1958, and there have actually been a lot of firsts ever since. Rob Pizzo strolls you through 9 pioneers for Black History Month. 1:52

As a hubby and dad of three, Oilers forward Kyle Turris stated his mind is at more at ease playing in the North Division.

"You still have the issue of the virus," he stated. "But it just appears like in the U.S. [the virus] spreads more and at a faster rate, and it's a little bit less careful.

"It's something you consider and think about, sometimes, having a family."

Byron, meanwhile, included he has sympathy for players in the U.S.

"Where a few of those groups are, the cases are actually bad," he said. "Every time they leave their house they're unfortunately in a position to be exposed. We're pretty lucky to be here in Canada."

Dr. Isaac Bogoch, a transmittable disease expert at the University of Toronto who has actually advised the NHLPA during the pandemic, said greater case counts in the U.S. means gamers are a little more at risk to get the virus, even when following league protocols.

"You can do whatever right and still lose," he said, noting a gamer's wife or kid might pick up the virus in the neighborhood. "The danger of that is just going to be higher anywhere there's a greater neighborhood problem and, sadly, there's a higher neighborhood burden in the United States.

"That doesn't indicate that Canada's no threat-- everyone has to take care. It's simply a greater risk where there's a higher neighborhood burden."

Revised rules

Apart from the 213 pages of health step revealed prior to the start of the season, the NHL revised a few of its rules this week.

The glass behind the benches has been eliminated for much better air circulation, coaches and players aren't permitted inside arenas till one hour 45 minutes before puck drop unless they're receiving treatment for injuries, and all group meetings should be virtual.

"You've got to roll with the punches," Nugent-Hopkins stated. "It's not a normal season. It's not a regular anything right now.

"You need to make a couple of sacrifices."

Jets head coach Paul Maurice stated having a number of players from his group on the protocol list last month was a wake-up call.

"It keeps everybody on their toes," he stated. "We're not ideal, but we attempt to be."

Byron stated he expects more measures from the league in the coming weeks and months.

"Things are going to tighten up and procedures are going to change," he stated.

'A lot of unpredictability'

Vancouver Canucks defenceman Nate Schmidt, whose former colleagues in Vegas were just recently sidelined, stated it's challenging for gamers to ramp back up after prolonged time off.

"It's a bummer," he stated. "You're playing and you're in that regular and all of the sudden, you're out, you're done. It does not matter if you had [ the infection] or not.

"It's just a lot of uncertainty."

Tanev stated the challenge for North Division clubs moving forward will come when some restrictions are inevitably relaxed in different jurisdictions.

"As things opens ... it's going to be harder for us," he stated. "We've got to keep the very same discipline."

Canadiens head coach Claude Julien said that while the infection will continue hanging over the schedule-- even north of the border-- his group and its six opponents remain in a great spot.

"COVID's all over today," stated the 60-year-old. "We've been fortunate enough to remain away from it.

"Every day we keep crossing our fingers that it keeps going that way."

"We've still got to be cautious and take the precautions seriously, and make sure we're not doing anything dumb to put ourselves at risk," Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins stated."You still have the concern of the infection," he stated."You can do whatever right and still lose," he said, noting a player's other half or child might pick up the virus in the neighborhood."You've got to roll with the punches," Nugent-Hopkins stated."As stuff opens ... it's going to be harder for us," he stated.