With NHL training camps opening up, NHL players had until 5:00 PM on Monday to decide to opt-out of the playoffs. All players made their decision, with the exception of Montreal Canadiens forward Max Domi. Domi received a seven to ten-day extension to decide if he will join the Habs for their playoff run. With his pre-existing medical conditions, Max Domi should opt-out of the NHL playoffs.
Montreal Canadiens Max Domi Should Opt Out of NHL Playoffs
Six players have opted-out of the post-season: Travis Hamonic, Sven Baertschi, Karl Alzner, Steven Kampfer, Roman Polak, and Mike Green.
Max Domi is the lone player still wrestling with whether or not he will return to action. Domi is a Type 1 diabetic and also has celiac disease. People with underlying medical conditions are more susceptible to the severe effects of the COVID-19 virus. The desire to participate in the NHL’s 2020 playoffs is strong, but some things are more important. Domi’s long term health and potentially his life could be on the line if he returns to the ice.
The Risks to Max Domi
There is still a lot we don’t know about the COVID-19 virus, but one thing has been made clear from the start: anyone with underlying medical conditions is much more susceptible to the severe effects of the virus. Max Domi is someone with such pre-existing conditions. With the NHL finding 30 positive tests in phase two and 13 more (confirmed) positives in phase three it’s clear that despite best efforts, players are still testing positive. Patients have suffered long term, permanent damage to their lungs as a result of contracting the COVID-19 virus. Any of the players who have tested positive for the virus may suffer long term effects that they are not aware of right now.
With players (and the public in general) continuing to contract the virus, there are no guarantees it won’t continue to spread and infect players. If Max Domi were to contract the virus, there is no telling how it will impact his quality of life moving forward.
Max Domi the Competitor
Hockey players pride themselves on their toughness and character. They are willing to play through serious injuries just to get on the ice and compete. Max Domi is no different. The issue here is not whether or not he is tough enough or has a strong enough character, but his overall long term health. There isn’t a person out there, Habs fan or not, that wants to hear about Max Domi being on a respirator or suffer long term issues that could jeopardize his career because he decided to play.
The drive and desire to compete at a professional level is something most fans think they understand but probably never truly will. So it’s not surprising that athletes are willing to get back out there and play. Sometimes, however, they need to be saved from themselves.
Montreal Canadiens Side of Things
Another thing to consider is what responsibility the Canadiens have in this matter. They seem to have deferred to the player in this instance, which on its face seems like the right thing to do. Do they have a greater responsibility to the player in this case? They could take the decision out of Domi’s hands and simply tell him to stay away for his own safety. By doing this, however, they could damage their relationship with Domi.
Another thing to consider, however callus, is how the insurance company will react. All the teams have insurance on their players in case of injury. Now I am not going to pretend I know the terms of the Canadiens insurance policy but usually, if someone has a pre-existing condition that can result in a bigger issue, it tends to get more than a bit complicated. Perhaps everyone can defer to the insurance company’s feelings on the matter and take the decision out of everyone’s hands.
Max Domi’s Decision
Ultimately this is Max Domi’s choice to make. He needs to determine if the risks outweigh the rewards of participating in the 2020 NHL playoffs. Domi is a fierce competitor and is obviously struggling with this decision, which is why he received and extra 10 days to mull over his decision. If Domi decides to opt-out it would be a big blow to the Habs. Domi is a top-line player for the Canadiens and his production, intensity, and creativity would be missed. Through 71 games this year, Domi has 17 goals and 27 assists. On a team that is starved for offense, not having Domi would make a bad situation even worse. Still, there are more important things than hockey to consider.
The risk seems too high. Even if the Canadiens go on a cup run, is it worth Domi potentially sacrificing his career or even his life? Domi should sit this one out.