There are real discussions and concerns in Montreal about the status of Montreal Canadiens forward Max Domi for the NHL return and Qualifying Round against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Domi is easily one of the most talented Montreal forwards, and his style suits playoff hockey. However, Domi also suffers from Type 1 Diabetes.
During his press conference two weeks ago, Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin left the decision on Domi’s availability to the doctors.
“If the doctors determine it is not safe for (Domi) to play, then he will not play,” Bergevin said.
At issue is not Type 1 Diabetes, but the more significant potential for harm should Domi contract COVID-19. According to Diabetes.org, people with diabetes are not more likely to contract the virus, but based on early results, people with diabetes can suffer more severe consequences.
“In China, where most cases have occurred so far, people with diabetes had much higher rates of serious complications and death than people without diabetes,” Diabetes.org website FAQ reads.”Generally, we believe that the more health conditions someone has (for example, diabetes and heart disease), the higher their chance of getting serious complications from COVID-19.”
Domi was Montreal’s third-leading scorer this season with 44 points, including 17 goals in 71 games. It was a down year for Domi, who Montreal acquired from Arizona two years ago in exchange for Alex Galchenyuk (who the Pittsburgh Penguins acquired last summer for Phil Kessel, but then traded to Minnesota as part of the Jason Zucker deal).
“People with diabetes do face a higher chance of experiencing serious complications from COVID-19,” the diabetes website explained. “In general, people with diabetes are more likely to experience severe symptoms and complications when infected with a virus.”
“…Viral infections can also increase inflammation, or internal swelling, in people with diabetes. This is also caused by above-target blood sugars, and both could contribute to more severe complications.”
Last season, Domi potted 28 goals and 72 points in his first season with the bleu, blanc, en rouge. The 25-year-old LW will be a restricted free agent this offseason as his two-year, $6.3 million contract will expire. Montreal holds arbitration rights on Domi, who could earn a hefty raise.
Two weeks ago, Domi addressed his contract, or lack thereof, during a conference call.
“Tere’s just so much other stuff going on in the world right now that’s so much more important than my contract. I mean, it’s just as simple as that,” said Domi. “I could care less about an NHL contract right now, and I want to make sure that we’re doing everything to stay safe.”
Montreal will have a healthy Jonathan Drouin in their lineup. Drouin is one of only two Canadiens players in Montreal, currently. The Montreal practice facility, the Bell Complex, hasn’t yet put down ice because of a lack of players who want to skate. Defenseman Victor Mete is a question mark, as Bergevin was unclear about Mete’s progress from a broken ankle.
Montreal is also pushing to add star prospect and KHL player Alexander Romanov to their roster for the NHL Return to Play Phase 4.
The NHL moved to Phase 2 on Monday, which allowed teams to open their practice facility for small group workouts, on and off-ice. Players may workout in groups no larger than six, with limited team staff in the building, but no coaches on the ice. Phase 3, which are team training camps in the team’s home city, will begin no earlier than July 10.
The NHL Return to Play Plan Phase 4 will begin two to three weeks after Phase 3. As part of Phase 4, teams will report to the two yet to be named hub cities for the 24-team NHL playoffs. The Pittsburgh Penguins will face the Montreal Canadiens in the Qualifying Round, which is a best-of-five game series. Teams that lose in the Qualifying Round are considered to have not made the playoffs and will be eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft lottery, which the NHL will hold in late June.