More and more NHL players continue to go on record with their fears and concerns about a potential return to play for the NHL. On Thursday, Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner addressed the elephant in the room.
I’m all down with starting back up but what if someone gets sick and dies? Then what?” Marner asked on his Twitch channel. “It’s awful to think about but still. Like [Max] Domi has diabetes and if he gets it, he’s in bad.”
Domi echoed Marner’s sentiments on TSN 690 that while players want to come back, the uncertainty surrounding testing and safety has them hesitant.
“Everyone wants to play but no one wants to be put in a dangerous position,” Domi said.
Flames GM Feeling NHL Return Momentum
Calgary Flames General Manager Brad Treliving believes there is enough momentum towards a return to the ice for the NHL that an announcement could come next week on if, how, and when the NHL will break its Coronavirus pause.
“I think there’s momentum,” Treliving told Sportsnet reporter Eric Francis Thursday. “No state secrets here, but I do sense some momentum that next week there could be at least a preliminary plan put in place for where we go.”
Treliving likened a return to play for the NHL amongst a pandemic that’s not going away to camping.
“Everything is going to be subject to whether we can execute the plan. We can say we’re going camping next weekend, but if it rains we probably won’t. But I do suspect we’re going to hear some news next week on two big issues right now relative to a plan of what a potential restart would look like, and the draft.”
One slight difference between rain and COVID19 though and that’s the fact that as far as we know, rain doesn’t kill us, this virus does.
Kingerski: ‘Time For The NHL To Lead’
If the NHL is planning to return, colleague Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey Now, believes the powers that be, namely Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly need to make a decision ASAP and show some leadership.
“Restarting the NHL season during a worldwide pandemic won’t be so easy, and the NHL doesn’t have years to let things play out,” Kingerki pointed out. “Nor does the NHL have the luxury of waiting and watching the NBA to see how that league handles a return-to-play scenario. The NHL return is more complex and challenging than the NBA, which could restart its season with as little as three, maybe four weeks’ notice. The NHL isn’t so lucky. No, this time, the NHL and its big mahogany desks must lead.”
24-Team Playoffs And Allen A Big Fan Of Rask
In his latest 31 Thoughts, Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet proposed his idea of how a 24-team playoff format would be set up if the NHL returns and uses the 24 team option instead of the normal 16 or the 20-team idea.
Friedman also spoke to St. Louis Blues goalie Jake Allen, who is a big fan of Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask and tries to model his game after Rask’s.
“Rask plays so different than most of the goalies we play in the West,” Allen said. “And he’s so good at it. There’s so many little things…. The way he plays around his net on posts — it’s so much different than most of the goalies that we play against. The way that he stands, there seems like a lot of net, but there isn’t…. Your perception is just completely off when you’re looking at him. (Goalie coach) Dave Alexander would video me in the net and I’d be playing like Rask. ‘Here’s what he’d do in this situation and here’s what could be open.’”
If Rask has things his way, Allen will have plenty of more film to study as the Bruins’ winningest goalie has no plans of retiring soon.
Miller Rehabbing Again
Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller has been using the NHL pause to rehab from yet another surgery on his right knee. Miller confirmed in a virtual town hall Thursday that he had work done on his kneecap that he broke twice in a two-month span last spring.
“As far as hockey and rehab goes, I’m still rehabbing,” the rugged rearguard said. “I was on a good trajectory there. I was skating and whatnot, and then I had a setback. So I’m just coming off surgery that I had eight weeks ago. Timing-wise things have been good for me. I’m off crutches now and walking around again. Things are good.”