For the first time in several long weeks it feels like there is a little bit of buzz starting to build up around hockey again, due in large part to the fact that the National Hockey League has made it clear that it will begin to allow players to return to their local facilities in order to begin preparing for the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
In total we will see 24 teams competing for Lord Stanley's Holy Grail but although the prospect of a large scale playoff tournament is extremely exciting it sounds like we may not be guaranteed to see one at all yet. In a recent interview Columbus Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno warned of a potential impending clash between the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players Association, specifically in regards to player accommodations if and when the NHL does in fact return to finish out the remainder of the season.
“If somebody’s going to tell me I can’t see my family, there’s going to be a fight at some point,” Foligno said during a 30-minute recording as per the Winnipeg Sun.
As long time fans of Foligno will know the man is an extremely dedicated father and on top of that his young daughter Milana has had her fair share of health struggles during her life so far. Foligno has on more than one occasion been forced to step away from the team in order to deal with some of the unique challenges he has faced, and when you take all of that into consideration it is easy to see why the man would not want to be away from his young children for any extended period of time during what is still a global health crisis.
Foligno is however just one man and several NHL players have made it very clear that they are eager to return to play, so it will remain to be seen how much support Foligno's position on this matter has among his peers. Foligno is concerned that some who do not want to return to be vilified and, although this is only speculation on my part, it sounds to me like he may be talking about himself.
“If you don’t feel safe to return, I think there needs to be some sort of way for those guys not to be vilified. No one’s going to look at you (unfavorably) for not wanting to go back, and I don’t think they should be.”