According to TSN’s Frank Seravalli, “multiple” NHL players are considering opting out the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, which is set to begin on Saturday, August 1 in Edmonton (for the Western Conference) and Toronto (Eastern).
The NHL’s Memorandum of Understanding allows any player to decline participation in the tournament for any reason without facing penalties. The NHLPA will vote to ratify the new CBA proposal by the league or not by 5 PM ET on Friday.
Training camps for the 24 teams resuming play are set to begin on Monday. At 5 PM ET that day, the deadline to drop out of the tournament will pass.
Players with underlying medical conditions (Montreal Canadiens forward Max Domi, New York Rangers forward Kaapo Kakko, and Minnesota Wild forward Luke Kunin all have type-1 diabetes) could face an easy decision. If a player is determined to “be at substantial risk of developing a serious illness as a result of exposure to the novel coronavirus,” he will be “deemed unfit to play and shall not be permitted to participate” in both training camp and the bubble.
Domi and Kakko also have Celiac disease, which may put them at an even higher risk if they were to get COVID-19. There are other players who have family members who may be at substantial risk and will choose not to participate in the NHL’s Return To Play plan.
Forwards Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Jakub Vrana, Tom Wilson, Lars Eller, Richard Panik, Nic Dowd, Garnet Hathaway, Travis Boyd, and Carl Hagelin; defensemen John Carlson, Brenden Dillon, Dmitry Orlov, Nick Jensen, Jonas Siegenthaler, and Radko Gudas; and goaltender Braden Holtby have all reported to MedStar Capitals Iceplex for the Washington Capitals during phase two. Though, those players could still opt out of the tournament if they wish to.
Goaltenders Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek in addition to defensemen Martin Fehervary and Michal Kempny are all in the Washington area but have yet to report to MedStar Capitals Iceplex. Forwards T.J. Oshie and Ilya Kovalchuk are among those not in the area yet.
Prospects that have reported and skated at MedStar include Phil Maillet, Shane Gersich, Daniel Sprong and Connor McMichael.
By Harrison Brown