Kaapo Kakko’s doctors and the Rangers’ medical experts are in agreement that it is safe at this time for the 19-year-old Finn to join the team’s projected summer training camp despite the fact that he is a type-1 diabetic who may be susceptible to. serious complications if he contracts COVID-19.
“It’s been tested [and] “It’s good,” club president John Davidson said in an interview with MSG-TV that was posted on the Blueshirts’ website. “As of right now, we look to have him in the lineup.”
The Blueshirts are scheduled to face the Hurricanes in a best-of-five qualifying round after the training camp completion that is tentatively set to commence on July 10. The NHL and NHLPA have yet to finalize a deal to hold camp or stage the 24. – a tournament, with folks on both sides negotiating health protocols and an extension of the collective bargaining agreement.
As became apparent again on Friday, though, when the Lightning were temporarily forced to close their training facility to small group workouts after three players and two staff members tested positive for the COVID-19 per TSN, the virus would ultimately determine whether the league would. be able to get back on the ice in the midst of a pandemic.
The league announced Friday that 11 of more than 200 players tested for coronavirus were positive. This comes after two days of credible reports sweeping through the industry that several players who had been skating together in a large group outside of a team facility in a western state have also tested positive for COVID-19.
All players who have tested positive have been self-isolated and are following the CDC and Health Canada protocols, the league said in a statement, adding it will provide a weekly update on the number of tests administered and the results of those tests.
“There is no new or different direction at this point,” deputy commissioner Bill Daly told The Post via email exchange. “Contact tracing is typically imposed by the local health agency with the club assisting in that process. There is no difference in that approach depending on where – or why – the player was training. “
We are told, however, that teams are reaching out to their players and asking them to report to respective training centers by the end of next week. This would allow them to skate under protective measures absent in public rinks. Plus, if any tests were positive upon arrival, they’d have time to self-quarantine for 14 days as mandated by NHL guidelines without missing the start of camp. Players for the most part have to wait for the league and union to reach an agreement before traveling to their respective cities. That may not be the wise move at this juncture.
It is against this backdrop that Kakko has been pronounced good to go. The second-overall selection in last season drafted 23 points in 66 games and ranked tied for seventh among rookies with 10 goals.
“We think it’s safe as long as he follows the protocol and we all do, too,” said Davidson. “We understand the whole thing from A to Z. It’s been studied by our doctors in many different forms. If there’s a change that comes along and they say we don’t think he should play, not playing.
“But if they give us the green light and he, himself – his decision, remember – wants to play and he talks to his family, playing.”