The surprising news that Washington Capitals Center Lars Eller had been placed in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol during the team’s recent West Coast road swing came unexpectedly, with the Capitals’ already dealing with a number of key offensive players out due to injury at the time. On Tuesday, after participating in a full practice at MedStar Capitals Iceplex, Eller discussed his time quarantined, and returning to game shape.
Eller, who returned to Washington earlier this week and practiced with teammates for the first time in nearly two weeks, was required to quarantine in California for 10 days as a result of the NHL’s protocol.
“The quarantine is far worse than the disease itself, at least in my case. It’s not healthy to sit inside for a long time, I think that’s very unhealthy for anyone”, Eller told the media. “I felt like I had a mild cold or flu for three days, but I never had a high fever or excessive breathing problems.
After feeling well from his initial symptoms, Eller acquired some exercise equipment to help keep him shape during the 10-day period.
“After Day 4, when I had felt good for a day, I got a training bike in my room, some dumbbells, some training gear, tried to find a routine. Workouts in the morning, afternoons are a lot of movies, shows, sometimes I’d do a little bit of work again before dinner, another movie, another show, reading, listening all kinds of things. Tried a little bit of everything, tried to stay sane. After Day 4, I tried to do somewhat of a schedule to stay sane, because the not knowing. At least try to say ‘Okay, this time slot I’m gonna try to do this and this’, helps the mind a little bit not being so restless, but it’s still challenging because you feel like you’re wasting time when you should be somewhere else. I hope I don’t have to do it again anytime soon”.
Eller, who along with the other members of the team was vaccinated for COVID-19 prior to the season and has followed the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols, is unsure of where he contracted the virus. Unlike the New York Islanders, who have several players in COVID-19 protocol and have had games postponed, Eller was the only member of the Capitals to contract the virus.
“No one else on the team got it, nobody in my house got it. I have no idea where I got it from. We’re trying to count, most likely, probably somewhere on that road trip between Detroit and Columbus, but I’ve really only been around my teammates, so it’s really odd so I guess I’ve just been extremely unlucky”.
Despite being out for 10 days, the veteran center insists he is feeling good and itching to get back into game action.
“I felt good, I felt like I’m ready to take the next step. I feel like I’m close. We’ll see, talk to Lavy [Capitals Head Coach Peter Laviolette] later. I’ve had two good days on the ice, but you always want to fight”.
While Eller said his lungs and breathing feel fine while on the ice, the mental aspect of being back in skates is in catch up mode.
“It’s mostly the timing. I’m not too worried about my legs and lungs, it’s mostly getting your head back to that speed again after not doing anything on the ice for awhile. I feel really good, like I’m full of energy, almost a little rejuvenated.
Eller explained that while he was only sick for a few days and felt fine, another test showed he still had the virus, and the 10-day period was in place as a result of California restrictions; to his understanding, the length may have varied according to the state in which he was quarantining in.
“I’m feeling good. Happy to be back on the ice, that feels right.”
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) November 27, 2021