Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill spoke with the media this morning regarding the Red Wings’ very real concerns of a COVID outbreak, as noted by MLive’s Ansar Khan…
“It’s something we had hoped we wouldn’t have to be in these spots as a league,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “I think we have to balance as a group staying as vigilant as possible while also living. So, we’ll keep making those decisions as we move forward, how to best approach it. It does seem, obviously, like the virus, can hit people and groups at any time. I think it’s something that even when you take great precaution you can still get struck with it, whether it be individually or as a group. If that happens, we’ll have to deal with it at that moment.”
Detroit defenseman Danny DeKeyser has been in COVID protocol since Wednesday and will miss his third consecutive game tonight. Dylan Larkin sat out the third period of the Nov. 16 game in Dallas due to a false positive test.
Tyler Bertuzzi is the only NHL player not vaccinated for COVID-19. It is up to each individual whether to receive the booster shot.
Blashill said there have been conversations about sequestering in the hotel on the road like last season.
“I know certain teams have done stuff like that and have actually gotten hit with COVID hard. So, it’s really hard to predict,” he said. “There’s so much of your life that if you don’t shut down or don’t end up living in a bubble then what you have to do is take the best precaution you can. You have to mask whenever possible; you have to wash your hands. You have to do those things that have been proven effective in helping combat it.
“Coming into the season we didn’t want to get to where we were last year. I don’t think anybody was interested in doing that for a full season again. But if that’s what it takes, then we’ll have to cross that bridge when we get to it. It might be sooner than later, I don’t know that, but those talks have happened.”
And the Free Press’s Helene St. James:
“It’s something that we had hoped we wouldn’t have to be in these spots as a league,” Wings coach Jeff Blashill said Tuesday at TD Garden. “As a league, we had hoped there wouldn’t be games canceled, but that’s what has happened. Numerous people have been in protocol. Some teams have had significant impacts.
“We have to balance as a group staying as vigilant as possible while also living. We’ll keep making those decisions as we move forward, how to best approach it. It does seem like a virus that can hit people and groups at any time, and I think it’s something that even when you take great precaution, you can get struck with it, whether it be individually or as a group.”
One thing everyone in the NHL is watching is January 10, which is the deadline for the league to pull out of allowing its players to participate in the Beijing Games. Defenseman Moritz Seider already has been named to Germany’s team, and while Lucas Raymond wasn’t on Sweden’s initial list of players, his performance has prompted that to be addressed. Larkin has represented the U.S. national team multiple times.
“Everybody wants to go,” Blashill said. “Certainly the players do, I know the coaches involved do. All those people really want to go, and I think it would be great for the game. But obviously, we’ll see how it goes with cancellations of games. It’s a little bit worrisome when … the Islanders’ games get cancelled, after Ottawa got cancelled.
“One thing the NHL has done a really good job of is not making decisions until they’ve had to. When you’re dealing with unknowns as you’re dealing with what we’ve gone through with COVID, there’s a lot of unknowns, so try not to make the decision until you absolutely have to. That’s what they’re going to do do.”