Baby steps.

That's what it's going to take for NHL action to return this summer.

The league and the players' association moved ever so slightly in that direction Monday by announcing their intention to transition from Phase 1 (months of self-quarantining) into Phase 2 of a four-stage plan aimed at relaunching the 2019-20 season, which has been on hiatus since March 12 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Phase 2, which is targeted to begin sometime in early June and was labeled "strictly voluntary" for players in a 22-page memo from the league, revolves around the introduction of small-group training sessions. Concrete dates for Phase 2 and timelines for Phase 3 (full team training camps) and Phase 4 (resumption of games in multiple hub cities), are still to be determined.

In light of Monday's news, as well as last week's NHLPA vote to continue negotiations with the league about a proposed 24-team postseason tournament, let's take a look at some lingering questions.

Will Phase 2 be a success?

In examining Phase 2, the words "comprehensive," "thorough," and "meticulous" come to mind. The health and safety of not only players, but also coaches and support staff, seems to be top priority in a delicate, constantly evolving situation.

A maximum of six players will be allowed to train together at a time, with coaches and other personnel prohibited from participating in the non-contact on-ice sessions. Players can train off the ice, though regular social distancing measures apply. When a player is inside a team facility but not on the ice or in the gym, he must wear a surgical-type mask or face cloth.

"If players are present in the locker room at the same time, they must appropriately socially distance at all times (i.e., be at least 6 feet apart)," the memo read. "Clubs shall coordinate small group sessions that will allow for appropriate spacing between players' designated stalls in the locker room."