Coronavirus a concern, but for Red Wings it’s business as usual
The Red Wings aren’t panicked by the coronavirus, but they are taking precautions.
For example, they are washing their hands more often and disinfecting the dressing room more frequently.
“It’s kind of the normal, universal precautions you go through at this time of year with the flu and those types of things,” coach Jeff Blashill told www.mlive.com. “You always try to be real smart about that, washing our hands all the time, making sure you’re covering your mouth when you’re coughing. If someone’s sick, we’ve tried to have them stay at home. That hasn’t happened yet, but we’ve done that with the flu.”
The NHL has taken several steps to prevent any possible exposure to the virus. On Saturday, March 7, NHL teams began closing dressing rooms to the media, instead restricting interaction between media with players to formal interview areas. The league also has.been in contact with team medical and training staffs about the virus threat.
“Gary Bettman (NHL commissioner) said yesterday it’s business as usual with those universal precautions,” Blashill said. “Our locker room gets cleaned every day. Right now, there’s no travel restrictions in the U.S. We’ll just take it day by day and make sure we stay on top of it, as an organization, as a hockey team and as a league.
“I don’t think it’s had an immediate impact on any of our lives yet. Certainly, we want to make sure we’re being as good as we can about those simple but effective methods to try to stem the spread of any kind of illness.”
The NHL Players Association issued a memo with advice on what measures to take.
“They’re looking into every possible way to make sure we’re safe and the buildings are safe and the different areas,” Dylan Larkin said. “There hasn’t been too much talk (in the room), but it is something everyone in the world is dealing with.”
Larkin talked about getting the flu after a recent season ticketholder autograph signing and how quickly it spread throughout the team.
“You just have to be careful,” he said. “I know people enjoy a handshake and a photo, but maybe if it’s a fist bump, hopefully they’ll understand, with the seriousness and the scare out there.”
Justin Abdelkader talked about his concerns.
“People that are healthy for the most part are getting through it,” Abdelkader said. “Still, you don’t want to get it, but you don’t want to spread it to family members or others.
“I think we’re at a point as a country where we’re trying to learn as much as we can and take measures as we find out how bad it starts spreading.”
But he is not going to be obsessively cautious.
“You can’t live in a bubble, either,” he said. “We’re fortunate that, as a group, a lot of guys are healthy and take care of themselves.
“You just worry about the elderly and your parents, those sorts of people, whether they have some kind of lung disease or are trying to fight something off and have a weakened immune system. Those are the ones that are really in danger and that’s why we’re just trying to keep it contained as much as possible.”
The last major health scare tin the NHL was the mumps outbreak in late 2014.
“To be honest, there’s been more dangerous viruses out there than this one,” Jonathan Bernier said. “It’s like a flu virus. Obviously, you want to be careful, especially if you have kids. You just do the normal stuff you do every day (to avoid) getting a flu virus or anything like this.”