(Elmont, New York) The Golden Knights-Islanders game ended an hour ago as you sat on the shuttle connecting the newest UBS Arena to the nearest functional train station.
“What are you doing with your big suitcase?” The driver was shocked.
– I came straight to the game from the airport. But I did nothing, tomorrow’s game was canceled.
– Is the match canceled? Leave it for me! ”
We like to report such enthusiastic reactions from players, but here is the best we can get.
Jean-Gabriel Pego admitted a few minutes after losing 4-3 to the Islanders in a shootout, “We found out when we got back to the locker room after the game.
“The NHL and the Players’ Association have made the right decision. We like to play in front of our fans, we’ve been playing well lately, but it’s not under our control. I’m sure they made the decision with the safety of the players and families in mind. ”
We assume that none of the islanders will be angry enough not to welcome the Canadian team in danger of spreading. Over the past two days, two players have been added to the list of absentees linked to COVID-19 (Arthuri Lehkonen and Laurent Dauphin) and Cedric Pacqueto is in the administrative segregation pending exam results.
In terms of viruses it has already been given by the islanders. In late November, shortly before the explosion of cases in the NHL, seven players were unavailable at the same time. Only one of their games was postponed, but their spread was equivalent to an 11-game defeat.
Therefore, when asked if the NHL’s decision to continue the season, despite being ubiquitous, was approved, the team did not move head coach Barry Trotz.
“They have the numbers and the people to make these decisions. If you can play, you play,” Manitoban replied. “No one took pity on us when our Kovid cases were over. Should get out. ”
It may even be possible for the team to be very vigilant in its defensive actions. Since the outbreak a month ago, the islanders have been conducted via videoconference exclusively for interviews. Here, however, we suspect that there is a broad backbone to prevention and that the always suspicious Lou Lamoriel will take the opportunity to keep journalists away, but that is a completely different discussion …
For or against the break?
Officially, as of Sunday night, eight teams are in complete shutdown in the NHL, at least until Christmas, including the Canadians and Maple Leafs. In fact, we can also add senators, jets, oillers and cones; Even if these teams do not suspend their activities, canceling matches that require border crossings means they probably will not play by the time the good St. Nicholas passes through their chimney.
With almost half the teams on the break, it is questionable whether a generalized break would be the best option, either until Christmas or until 1 p.m.Is January. If NHL players are confirmed to be participating in the Olympics, this option will allow them to reschedule games in February.
Brendan Gallagher did not want to go too far on the question.
“We have to play 82 games, and we know we’re going to face it and we have a chance to restart the game. You should not play in front of empty bleachers,” the young Canadian right winger recalled.
“If you can move matches to have a complete amphitheater and the solution is in two weeks, it makes sense. But we do not want to stop. Like everyone else we want to work, we have to have a goal. I’m sure the rest of the world feels the same way. We want to find solutions to make it safer. We will not close any doors. There are already stagnant teams, but if we can play, we will play. ”
Trotz said he hopes the Christmas break will be enough to curb the spread.
“If they can use it to limit the scope and other teams continue at this point, why not play? Trotz wondered. You can not get all the matches on the calendar if we take a break. We are one of the teams that have played the fewest matches in the league. It’s not right for the league or the fans. The league is doing the right thing. We’ll keep playing, we’ll find solutions along the way.
His team works in the shadow of New York, the city, where there are 6,000 cases per day (average for the last seven days). In short, in these environments where fires occur, teams must take extraordinary measures to limit contact between their members and the rest of the population. Otherwise the break will not work.
With Simon-Oliver Lorenz, Press