The Free Press’s Helene St. James filed her morning article today, discussing Dylan Larkin and coach Jeff Blashill’s takes on the ways in which COVID-19 is affecting the Red Wings, who have 8 players currently unavailable due to COVID protocols:
“You’re thinking about it constantly,” [Larkin] said. “There is a little bit of anxiousness with testing every day, showing up to the rink, wondering if you’re going to be done for 10 days or you’re going to be able to play.
“You have to be a good pro. You have to be ready for whatever comes at you. But it is very difficult and it can be frustrating at times, I’m sure, for the guys that test positive and don’t have any symptoms, but there are protocols and we just try to follow them. But it is a very tough situation showing up and not knowing if you’re going to be positive or negative.”
General manager Steve Yzerman said Dec. 18 that everyone in the organization was being encouraged to get the booster shot, and not being able to practice for one week facilitated that step.
“Some guys did and certainly it was offered,” Blashill said. “If the booster can help us keep people on the ice, players have been encouraged to do that, with the end goal of trying to stay eligible to play and not contract the virus.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt there’s an anxiety around guys who haven’t tested positive of almost waiting to feel like you are going to test positive, as transmissible as this has been. You are nervous and you feel every little thing with your body that isn’t 100% perfect and you wonder if you’re going to test positive. That’s not an easy thing, but it’s not unique to us, nor is the challenge of being off for a number of days unique to us. Both of those things, we are going to have to make sure we handle and that we have that mental toughness.”