The NHL is tossing different ideas to get back to playing games. Some include playing games in one of four central hubs to jumping back straight into a 24-game tournament.
The NHLPA and the NHL have been hosting weekly video conferences to keep the players involved with how the COVID-19 pandemic situation is unfolding. It’s a tough thing to get a grasp of as medical recommendations and conditions change daily.
Michael Russo of TheAthletic.com spoke with Minnesota Wild’s Devan Dubnyk who is the team player representative and is on the weekly call with the NHL and NHLPA. All players are welcomed on these calls, but Dubnyk is responsible for reaching out to payers who have questions and to update his team on the weekly details.
Dubnyk expressed what he and most players are feeling with the discussion of the league re-activating the season.
“Guys with kids at home aren’t interested in shackling up somewhere for four months and being away from them,” Dubnyk said. “I know myself personally, I’m not interested in packing up and going away for that length of time away from my family. I can’t imagine that anybody else would, and I think it sounds like the NHL is sensitive to that and understands that, so we’re just going to have to wait and see how everything unfolds here,” he told Russo.
The Wild goalie expressed that players shouldn’t stress over how or when things could resume because things seem to change on a different basis. The league is hoping to go to phase two which would allow players to begin skating again at their facilities. The exact time frame for that is still unknown.
Dubnyk has his own opinion about a possible resumption of play this season.
“I feel like it changes so much,” he said. “It’s like one week you just feel like it’s not possible and then another week you feel like it’s certainly possible. But it kind of comes and goes. It’s impossible to know. As things open up, it seems like other issues arise. It’s certainly impressive the work that people are putting in. The NHL and the Players’ Association are working extremely well together to do everything we possibly can to get back playing. It’s really hard to say. Like I said, every single player is going to tell you it’s exactly what they want to be doing. We want to get back playing hockey, but it’s hard to say if that’s going to be possible or not.”
Some things are confirmed should the league decided to award a Stanley Cup.
- There will be no fans in the stands.
- Testing will be a huge part of the process to return.
- The commitment by the players to finish the year will be needed more than ever before.
The NHL has been supportive of the player’s concern. An important issue to the NHLPA and its members is the time away from family. Dubnyk and most players are not comfortable heading into a proverbial bubble for four months to finish the season away from their significant others.
The NHL is aware and supportive of these situations and will work on a playable solution for both sides.
Hurry up and wait seems to be the motto of the day.
Be safe, healthy, and smart everyone.
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