The NHL might have decided to let players the option to opt out of the league’s Return to Play if they choose without consequence, however, some players could be a victim of that rule as the league could also weigh in and refuse some players from taking part in the action.
As Bob McKenzie explained in last night’s edition of Insider Trading on TSN, the NHL not only allows players from choosing to stay out of the tournament, but could also decide to leave players out, especially those at substantial risk of developing a serious illness as a result of exposure to the novel coronavirus.
Here is how Bob explained it:
“The National Hockey League has the ability to deem players unfit to play if they think they’re higher risk and that they could get extremely ill if they were to contract the coronavirus. The clause reads as follows: “Players who are determined to be at substantial risk of developing a serious illness as a result of exposure to the novel coronavirus shall be deemed to be unfit to play and shall not be permitted to participate either in Phase 3 or 4.” Now, team doctors and infectious disease experts the National Hockey League has hired would have to make a call on those players. But let’s use Max Domi of the Montreal Canadiens and Kaapo Kakko of the New York Rangers as an example. Both of those players are Type 1 diabetics. Both of those players have celiac disease. Now, I’m not suggesting that an NHL team doctor or an infectious disease expert doctor is going to say these guys are unfit to play. But they do have to go through that process. Now, I can tell youMax Domi and Kaapo Kakko, to the best of my knowledge, want to play in the Return to Play and they intend to play. But there is that extra step because of their underlying conditions where doctors will have to sign off that they are fit to play, or they’re unfit to play and all of that process will take place at the beginning of next week when training camp starts and players go through their pre-Phase 3 medicals.”
While the two players aforementioned above have made it clear they want to resume play, they might not be able to make that decision.
It sounds like we will know more after their medicals and once they head into the Toronto bubble to take part in the tournament.
It could turn out to be a short trip for them…