Don’t look now, but after months and months of… well… nothing… the NHL is back in the news as it nears Phase 4 of its Return to Play plan. Of course, the NHL Draft Lottery stole the show this past weekend and there’s plenty of talk about hub cities these days, but there’s been very little reporting done concerning the actual players who will play the game.
I couldn’t care less what Gary Bettman and Bill Daly think of the NHL’s return to play… I want to know what the players themselves think. How do superstars like Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Brad Marchand, Auston Matthews, Connor McDavid and the like feel about things?
According to an anecdotal report from Eric Engels of The Athletic, roughly 75% of NHL players are against the league’s return to play strategy.
Check out this Twitter thread from Engels earlier today with some sobering statistics:
I have to say... that does NOT sound encouraging at all. Everything the NHL and NHLPA has said in the media since the return to play plan was proposed has put the focus on the safety of its players and employees. Now, under the guise of anonymity, the players themselves are calling that bogus. Suffice it to say, things could get VERY interesting if we start to see players drop out of this summer's proposed Stanley Cup Playoff format.