The simple fact that forward Max Domi of the Montreal Canadiens is even playing NHL hockey is an amazing feat. He is afflicted with Type-1 diabetes and must monitor his blood sugar level even during games.
Max Domi Could be Left Out of Play-in Games
The Canadiens must think of their star forward’s health above all else. With Domi’s diabetes, he will be at risk of complications should he catch the COVID-19 virus. All teams will be taking extra precautions should play be approved going forward. In Domi’s case, this may be something not worth the risk to his health. It’s been shown that victims of the virus many times had pre-existing conditions which made them more vulnerable. For many reasons, the team and the NHL may not want to take the risk of Domi getting ill.
Domi’s Absence Would be Felt
The 5-foot-10, 193-pound forward has made it known he loves playing in Montreal after his trade from the Arizona Coyotes in July of 2018. The controversial trade sent forward Alex Galchenyuk to the Coyotes. Galchenyuk has not done well in Arizona or with the Pittsburgh Penguins as both teams traded him away. The Coyotes received Phil Kessel in a trade with Pittsburgh and Kessel has underperformed as well.
Subracting Domi from the Montreal lineup for the play-in series may really decrease their chances against the tough Penguins. They are scheduled to face the Pittsburgh club if play resumes. He has had 45 goals and 71 assists for 116 points in 153 games in Montreal. He has been an accurate shooter with an 11.8 percent success ratio. Domi helps out on the power play registering five goals and 17 assists. The Canadiens need every ounce of depth they can get down the middle as they face a team with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
The most passionate trait which would be missing is Domi’s energy and toughness on the ice. Needless to say, he doesn’t shy away from physical play and is very good at getting under the opponent’s skin. Getting into fights in this COVID-19 world may not be using emotional intelligence if you want to stay healthy. The NHL has even been rumoured to say that fights will be outlawed if play resumes. At least until the virus is gone or a vaccine is introduced. While Domi is not going to fight as often as his father, Tie Domi, did because he is too valuable to the Canadiens offence, he is often involved in the gritty side of the game and at the middle of nearly every post-whistle scrum.
Max Domi Has a Special Dog
Domi needs to monitor his blood sugar constantly and he has help. He has a specially trained dog named Orion who can alert him from the aroma of his saliva if his level is too low. Orion will need to be with him, in the NHL Hub City, if he is allowed to play. That could be an extra insurance for the team to solidify that his health is monitored most of the time.
In this video, Max Domi explains how he found out he had diabetes and how supportive all the teams he has played for have been over the years. He definitely doesn’t think it’s a huddle he can’t jump over if he can play the game he loves.
Play or Not
The Montreal Canadiens will proceed with caution to address the question of whether they will allow Domi to participate in games or not. It will be a tough choice to make. In this world of uncertainty concerning a pandemic, all things must be considered. Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin has made it clear that this is a fluid situation. While Domi obviously wants to play, the Canadiens will not put him at undue risk if the team’s doctors advise against his participation.
Another good point brought up on Marc Bergevin conference call is #Habs Max Domi, who has Type 1 diabetes, possibly risking his health in COVID-19 playoffs with no contract for next season. GM says team won't put health of players at risk. So many things to think about. #HabsIO
— Stu Cowan (@StuCowan1) May 27, 2020
It would be a huge disappointment as Domi has not played in the playoffs yet in his short NHL career. Last season the Canadiens barely missed qualifying for the postseason. He will certainly look forward to playing games that could get the team to the regular playoffs after the play-in is completed.
Moreover, Domi will be a restricted free agent after this season. He signed a two-year bridge deal in June of 2018 good for $3.15 million per season. Without him performing in the play-in, it would seem to decrease his negotiating power to sign another longer-term contract.
All things considered, the most obvious factor is Domi’s health. He could be at risk playing depending on the safety conditions the league uses. Having Orion to help with his diabetes and the NHL testing daily could be enough to decide to allow him to play.
The other concern is the team’s liability if he did contract the virus. That’s a lawsuit waiting to happen and considering his contract status, does the team want to take that chance?
We’ll need to wait and see.