Montreal Canadiens: Max Domi Not Reporting to Training Camp, May Arrive Next Week

OTTAWA, ON - FEBRUARY 22: Max Domi #13 of the Montreal Canadiens. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
OTTAWA, ON - FEBRUARY 22: Max Domi #13 of the Montreal Canadiens. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images) /

The Montreal Canadiens and Max Domi have a difficult decision to make regarding Max Domi.

The Montreal Canadiens are set to begin their training camp tomorrow for the Return to Play protocol for the 2020 season. There are a lot of risks involved in hockey returning to semi-normal this week and at least two Montreal Canadiens players will not be taking part tomorrow because of the risk.

We heard late last night that Karl Alzner has opted to not play. He has chosen to stay home instead of returning to training camp and won’t be with the team at all as they try to pull off an upset over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the play-in series that begins August 1.

Another player that won’t be on the ice tomorrow is Max Domi. The Habs forward has chosen not to take part this week, but he will re-evaluate in 7 to 10 days and make a final decision at that time.

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Domi, has Type-1 Diabetes and celiac disease. This puts him into a higher risk category than most other NHL players. With the league continuing on in the face of growing spread of the coronavirus in parts of North America, Domi has chosen to take as much time as he can before making a final decision.

This is the right call by both the player and the team.

The Canadiens are required to submit their 31 player list tomorrow and will have to include Domi on it, even though he may not take part in any games. That’s fine, as the 31 player list is more than enough to put together a roster of 23 on a nightly basis. The worst case scenario for the team is Domi elects not to play and then the team only has 30 players at its disposal, but that is still a long enough list.

With players traveling from all over the world to return to North America this week to partake in various professional sports, there is bound to be more cases of Covid-19 diagnosed in these athletes in the coming days. Waiting a week or even ten days will give Domi a chance to see how many players are diagnosed as they travel to their destinations.

If a handful of players on the Montreal Canadiens are diagnosed, it becomes far too risky for Domi to be sharing a dressing room and battling with teammates on the ice. Even if a handful of players that are in the Eastern Conference and will eventually share a hotel with the Habs inside the Toronto “bubble” are diagnosed in the next few days, it has to set off alarm bells for a player like Domi.

However, if the majority of players in the league test negative and are abiding by league protocols, Domi may find it is safe for him to join the team sometime next week.

Hopefully Domi is able to join the team. It would be great to see him in action in a playoff type series with a difficult opponent like the Pens. Having him go head-to-head with Evgeni Malkin every night would give him the opportunity to show just how good he can be and how valuable he is to the Canadiens in the postseason.

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However, it is good to know he is being smart and the team is willing to allow him to take his time with this decision. Risking his health is not worth trying to win a play-in series against a heavily favoured opponent.