clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Looking at the NHL’s “secure bubbles”, which could leave out an important Montreal player

The Canadiens might be missing a key player due to health restrictions

Montreal Canadiens v Pittsburgh Penguins Photo by Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images

The NHL could move onto the next phase within a week, which means they have to reveal plans and details of what comes next. We’re finally getting to that point. Here’s a lot of great details:

The whole thing is worth a read to know what is coming next, no need to quote it all here but some key points:

  • “The entire package - the Phase 3 and 4 protocols and CBA extension - will need to be ratified by both the NHL’s Board of Governors and the NHLPA’s full membership”. So that is a lot going on. Most expect the BoG to just be a rubber stamp from the teams, because they go along with what their commissioner Gary Bettman wants. The NHLPA has a lot more members with differing needs, opinions and viewpoints. However, all things considered it would be surprising by now if the NHLPA members blocked it at this point.
  • For the return to play bubble, “maximum of 52 individuals inside the secure zone, including ownership, players, coaches, executives and staff”, with no more than 31 players.
  • Training camps now scheduled to open July 13th, a week from today, and a few days back from the July 10th they were once shooting for.
  • The testing precautions are interesting:

Every person inside the NHL’s “bubble” will be tested for COVID-19 daily via nasal swab, also administered temperature checks and symptom screenings.

The list of people requiring daily testing is massive and includes but is not limited to: all players, staff, officials, arena ice crew, security, hotel bartenders, food service staff, arena food and beverage staff, hotel housekeeping, hotel kitchen and food prep staff, and bus drivers. Simply put, any person who has contact or may come into contact (even indirectly) will be tested daily.

  • They’re also thinking about the worst case scenario. “At any time before or during play in the 24-team tournament, the NHL and NHLPA have the ability to postpone, delay, move or cancel any games in the event conditions present ‘risk to player health and safety’ and/or jeopardize ‘the integrity of the competition.’”
  • If anyone tests positive, “an ‘asymptomatic’ confirmed positive case will be allowed to rejoin after two consecutive negative tests over a 48-hour period, or after 10 days of passage in isolation.” Symptomatic cases will require a 72-period.
  • There’s more lifestyle notes about how players will live in their bubbles, tested prior to getting in and have “excursions” to places like golf courses, hotel pools and details on family visits in the article as well.

As far as it goes more narrowly for the Canadiens and Penguins, any player can opt-out of playing this summer without any consequence. The Pens have already said all players are in town and expected to be playing, with the exception of forwards Dominik Simon and Nick Bjugstad who are out indefinitely after spring surgeries to repair major damage.

Montreal, however, might have an extenuating circumstance that could take a key player out of the equation. Max Domi, the Habs third highest goal and point scorer this season, is a Type 1 diabetic.

Our pals at Habs Eye on the Prize added:

The Public Health Agency of Canada has a list of people who are considered to be in the high-risk group for severe illness from contracting COVID-19, and diabetes is listed among the pre-existing conditions. Any doctor evaluating Domi would deem him unfit to play for this reason.

Domi and the Canadiens would be able to seek a second opinion in this case, but the government guidelines are quite clear in this case. It seems as though he will not be able to join the team on the ice when Stage 3 begins in the coming days.

We’ll have to stay tuned to see what comes of Domi’s decision, or if the doctors or officials even allow it to be his choice.