Washington Capitals defenseman Radko Gudas became the latest NHL player to voice his concern over the very real chance of a Coronavirus outbreak amongst the players should the league and NHLPA agree to resume the 2019-20 season.
“If one guy is infected, basically the whole league has it in a week, given how they are planning to have everyone play against everyone,” Gudas pointed out to the media at a golf tournament in his native Czech Republic. “One stupid stumble and you can cancel it all again.”
Gudas isn’t a fan of players being away from their loved ones and quarantined in a hotel for up to three months either. He worries that such a scenario could lead to widespread depression amongst the players.
“I don’t think players would manage to stay holed up in a hotel room the whole summer,” Gudas said. “That’s a step into one’s personal freedom. You can focus on yourself and your family in the summer. Even though everyone spent the last two, three months home, I still think staying in some hotel room all summer is just the right way to end up with depression.”
The rugged rearguard then took a swipe at the league pointing out it’s not OK for the players to risk injuries at the Olympics but now the NHL has no problem with the players risking their lives to complete the season.
“I think we shouldn’t play when the whole world is canceling seasons,” Gudas said. “Hockey would be the only team sport trying to power through it like this. They won’t let us go to the Olympics so we won’t get injured, but they want to keep the NHL season running in these times. If we kept playing, our sport would be swimming against the current a bit. Money is money, it’s what currently makes the world go round. It’s a bit sad that they are willing to risk the health of so many players for money.”
Will Every Player Get To Vote On Return?
Another big question surrounding a potential NHL return, is will Gudas and his fellow players all be able to vote if the 2019-20 season should be completed or will it just be the 31 NHLPA player reps from each team? On the latest ‘Ray and Dregs’ Podcast, TSN analysts Darren Dreger and Ray Ferraro discussed that and Ferraro, a former player rep himself was adamant that every player has a vote considering the risks involved.
“In some cases the 31 player reps can just vote and that’s OK,” Ferraro pointed out. “In this circumstance ‘Dregs’, I want everybody to vote. If I were a player, I’d want my vote heard,”
TD Garden May Open This Summer But Not With Fans
In an interview with the Boston Globe Friday, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said he is willing to let the Boston Bruins and Boston Celtics play games in TD Garden and the Red Sox in Fenway Park this summer but stressed that the venues will still not allow fans in.
“There will be no fans in Fenway Park in July, there will be no fans in Fenway Park in August,” the Boston Mayor said. “We won’t even be near a situation where there’s herd immunity, and there certainly won’t be a vaccine.”
Is COVID19 Bringing Players And Owners Together?
The NHL players are likely going to not just defer their final paychecks from the 2019-20 regular season but also forego them. As Ken Campbell pointed out, this is just another olive branch being thrown between the two sides as they work on not just a potential NHL return but also avoiding another work stoppage when the current CBA expires in two seasons.
“If no progress were being made in these talks, the players almost certainly would have elected to collect that last paycheck,” Campbell pointed out. “So not doing so indicates the two sides are communicating and on good terms, which is good news to anyone who doesn’t want to see any labor disruptions in two years.”