Montreal Canadiens: The latest clause in the RTP could keep Max Domi out

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - OCTOBER 30: Max Domi #13 of the Montreal Canadiens during the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on October 30, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. The Canadiens defeated the Coyotes 4-1. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, ARIZONA - OCTOBER 30: Max Domi #13 of the Montreal Canadiens during the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on October 30, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. The Canadiens defeated the Coyotes 4-1. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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The NHL is putting the final details together on their Return to Play Plan, and one of the latest clauses may see the Montreal Canadiens without Max Domi.

The Return to Play (RTP) Plan is almost on the verge of being finalized. We know the NHL is coming to Canada to finish its season in Toronto and Edmonton, but what we didn’t know was how the league was going to enforce this closed bubble to reduce exposure. It was already being put into question with players in Tampa and, most recently, St. Louis being infected; however, it looks like the league is taking this very seriously (as they should). And in a bittersweet symphony, this could keep Max Domi out of the Montreal Canadiens lineup for the Stanley Cup Qualifier.

As usual, this comes from TSN’s Bob McKenzie, who, in a Twitter thread, revealed that there has been an agreement for Phases 3 and 4 of the RTP. It still needs to be voted on, and that’s being pushed back with the CBA still in the works, but it seems like the NHL and NHLPA figured something out.

In the thread, McKenzie shared a number of details from the RTP revolving around testing and positive cases during the season. However, this one clause is going to directly impact the Montreal Canadiens:

"Players who, after consultation with Club doctor who conducted PPME, and the Club’s infectious disease expert, are determined to be at substantial risk of developing a serious illness as a result of exposure to the novel coronavirus shall be deemed to be unfit to play and shall not be permitted to participate in either Phase 3 or Phase 4. A player may initiate a second opinion concerning his fitness to play status pursuant to Paragraph 5 of the Standard Player Contract."

So what does this mean exactly?

Marc Bergevin did say earlier that if team doctors deem it unsafe for Domi to play, then they’ll make the decision accordingly. Based on this clause, the Habs doctors will have to inquire and discuss the risk factors of exposure to all players on the team. Domi is a type-one diabetic, and the symptoms he may develop if he’s exposed could be worse.

And it’s not in Domi, Bergevin or Claude Julien‘s hands. It’s in the team doctor’s hands.

By the look of things, there’s a very high chance Max Domi is not able to participate in training camp or the Stanley Cup Qualifier. And that could mean the same for Kaapo Kakko in New York – who is also a type-one diabetic – as well as Oskar Lindblom in Philadelphia who is battling cancer.

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It’s unfortunate, but it’s for their own good. Luckily the Montreal Canadiens have Jesperi Kotkaniemi as a full participant to take Domi’s spot if it turns out that he’s unable to play.