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Sobering Thoughts: What if NHL players opt out of playing the rest of the season?

Sobering Thoughts is a weekly column bringing you a hot take about the Edmonton Oilers brought to you by NATION COFFEE.

This weekly column will serve as a spot for a hot take that you maybe don’t want to hear and is brought to you by our friends at NATION COFFEE, but more on that later.

An interesting thing happened Monday and it made me think of something: what happens if NHL players don’t want to risk their health to play hockey?

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The reason this came up for me is due to the fact multiple reports came out Monday stating a number of MLB players have decided to opt-out of the league’s return to play, and won’t be playing baseball.

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Mike Leake was the first I saw that opted to pull out of playing for his club. A free agent at the end of the year, here’s what his agent said about Leake’s choice:

“During this global pandemic, Mike and his family had many discussions about playing this season. They took countless factors into consideration, many of which are personal to him and his family.

“After thorough consideration, he has chosen to opt out of playing in 2020. This was not an easy decision for Mike. He wishes the best of luck and health for his Diamondback teammates this season and he’s looking forward to 2021.”

As I write this, two other MLB’ers have now too opted out in Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross who play for the defending World Series champion Washington Nationals.

So what happens if your favourite NHL players decide to take care of their own health instead of playing hockey? It’s an interesting thing the MLB is now faced with and will obviously have an impact on teams abilities to play.

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In Edmonton, there’s a small bubble of players that could help fill bottom-six roles for the Oilers if any players decided not to play. On a larger scale, I’m interested to see if more MLB players opt out of playing and if any NHL’ers follow suit.

On Twitter: @zjlaing

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