Kuzma: Start of next NHL season hinges on stick handling around COVID-19


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“The bubble has served us extremely well,” said Dr Conway. “The fact that we are in Canada, and even if you were to come out of the bubble, as unintentionally as it may have happened, the risk of community transmission outside the bubble would be limited because we have good epidemiology around us.

“Negative reports are positive reinforcement for the players and anyone in the bubble that what they are doing is right. “

Vancouver Canucks players wait safely inside the protective fencing bubble as they head to practice at Rogers Place in Edmonton on July 28, 2020. Photo by Jeff Vinnick /Getty Images

So what about the fall?

What happens when a normal flu cycle is worsened by a predicted second wave of COVID-19? It will affect everyone, not just professional athletes.

In a Perfect World, the NHL will award the Stanley Cup in early October, host training camps in mid-November, and begin next season in early December. What about creating a buffer as a COVID-19 backup? That would mean a shortened season from mid-January. This is wise from a health standpoint and, obviously, not popular with homeowners consumed with recouping lost income during this pandemic.

“As players and people come out of the bubbles, there is a need to know what is the best new standard, not the old normal,” Dr Conway stressed. “You let yourself get out of the bubble and you don’t go back to how it was in February.”

This is only the first part. The next part is for the fall and winter months.

“Everyone needs to get the flu shot as soon as it is available to make it go away and not confuse the variables,” said Dr Conway. “It might confuse us if people have symptoms. Get the flu shot. And the third thing that is beyond our control is what will happen to the epidemic as it is unfolding.


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