One of the most surprising aspects of the past few weeks has been the increase in the number of player vaccinations. Word is, the total number of unvaccinated players, all things considered, could be single digits.
When teams like the Hurricanes, Blackhawks, and Blue Jackets are all 100 percent, given the backgrounds of some players in those places, you know there has been some sort of tide shift.
The idea was that the league’s release of its COVID-19 protocols last month had served as a kick in the ass. Let Buffalo’s Kyle Okposo lay him bare.
âOnce they said they weren’t going to ask for (the quarantine exemption) to go to Canada, it really put a lot of pressure on the people who were holding on because that’s a huge part of the season you’re not gonna get paid, âhe said (via John Vogl).
“You know, it’s funny what happens when you start to affect people’s wallets.”
It’s true. Take Josh Archibald, for example. The Oilers forward is not yet vaccinated and has no pending plans to get shot. Due to the number of cross-border trips taken by the Oilers and the time Archibald is expected to quarantine after his return, he is on the verge of losing about 40% of his $ 1.5 million salary.
And that’s if he’s unvaccinated and on the actual roster, which is far from a lockdown given the health / uptime risk it poses. Why hang on to a player who is sure to miss more than 30 games?
Thus, Archibald could start the season well in the AHL, just like Zac Rinaldo of Columbus. The Red Wings didn’t make such a decision on Tyler Bertuzzi, although they appear to be the outlier.
What is much more common, as we have seen, are the players who shoot. Better to take one in the arm than in the wallet, it seems.
(Photo by Kyle Okposo: Kyle Ross / USA Today)