Max Domi is keeping ready, just in case. The Canadiens forward continues to work out in his home gym as he awaits word from the NHL and NHLPA whether the 2019-20 season will resume, and if it will resume with his team involved.
It’s been over two months since the NHL suspended play. At the time, the Canadiens had 11 games left and were 10 points out of the final Eastern Conference wild card spot. That’s a tall mountain to climb. It seems less than ideal to have teams like Montreal, who are a good ways out of the playoff race, return after all this time to play out the rest of the schedule. If and when games resume, beginning with some sort of playoffs is the likely route.
Returning to play amid the coronavirus pandemic isn’t an easy option for Domi, a Type 1 diabetic. He’s aware of the risk.
“I think everyone is obviously a little on edge about this and worried about getting the disease or someone they know getting the disease,” he told reporters on Thursday. “Obviously, it’s scary. Being a Type 1 diabetic is something that raises some concern, but you really don’t know how everyone is going to be affected by this disease, so just because I’m a Type 1 doesn’t change much. I would handle myself the same way if I didn’t have it, so I’m just trying to stay safe and stay healthy as much as I can.”
The unknown is the biggest issue facing an NHL return to play. The league and Players’ Association can put together a number of models, but there are so many logistics to work out and things could change on a daily or weekly basis.
“If it’s safe, don’t get me wrong, I’m sure everyone will jump on board, if they can guarantee not only the safety of just the players, but the training staff, the media guys, the coaching staff, the management, everyone,” Domi said. “There are so many people involved, the on-ice officials, the off-ice officials, there’s so much to really discuss. I’m very confident that the people in charge over at the NHL and the NHLPA, they’re doing everything they possibly can to figure this out and move forward and progress in whatever way works and fits within the constraints the governments have provided us.
“Nobody wants to be put in a position where they’re in danger or you’re putting others in danger, so it’s really as simple as that. If it’s safe, I’m sure every player would want to play. I’m very confident in that.”
Domi, who scored 17 goals and recorded 44 points in 71 games this season, can be a restricted free agent in the off-season. For now, he said he’s not thinking about his next contract.
“There are so many more important things going on in the world than just my contract,” he said. “I understand. I guess all I can really tell you is I want to be with Montreal, I want to be here, I love playing in Montreal, I love my teammates, I love this team, and I love the city, so my hope is to play here for a long time. That never changed since I played my first game here, so that’s that.”
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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.