The NHL is officially returning on August 1. The play in rounds for the 24-team playoff start that day with a full slate of hockey. With that being said, it is inevitable that some players will decide to sit out of the return. We have seen players in the NBA and MLB (most notably Buster Posey) already decline to participate in their restarts. Calgary Flames defenseman, Travis Hamonic, became the first NHL player to opt out of the playoff.
There is a common theme amongst all of the players who decide to opt out. Every single one of them has young children, a family member who is at risk, or they are at risk themselves. New York Rangers forward, Kaapo Kakko, has type 1 diabetes and celiac disease. There is no official word yet on Kakko’s status, but it would not surprise me if he decided to sit out as well. These players are not opting out for no reason. It is obvious that they love the game they play and their teammates, but the health and well-being of their family is more important.
Calgary Flames Depth Chart
The Flames defense takes a hit with Hamonic deciding to sit out. He has played in 50 games this season and is certainly a presence on the blue line. Now that he has opted out, they still have captain Mark Giordano, Noah Hanifin, TJ Brodie, and Rasmus Andersson to play defense. Giordano won the Norris Trophy last season as the top defenseman in the league. He beat out the likes of Brent Burns and Victor Hedman for the award. Giordano finally won the award at the young age of 35 so he certainly can still play at a high level and help lead the Flames through the playoffs.
Like I said before, it is no surprise to see players start opting out. The number of players who sit out is only going to rise. Hockey has a culture of toughing out injuries to make sure you don’t miss a shift. This is different. The lives and well-beings of the player’s families are at stake, so please give them grace as they decide what is best for their family. The quest for the cup is not worth sacrificing your family’s health.
-Pete Chatterton (@Pchat12)
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