That’s what Connor McDavid called a potential three-to-five week quarantine in China, if he tests positive for COVID-19 at the 2022 Winter Olympics. The Canadian center wouldn’t go as far as saying that he wouldn’t be going to Beijing though.
Erik Karlsson, however, made his opinion loud and clear today.
“Most of the issues are public knowledge. If that’s the way it’s going to be, I don’t see it being very feasible for guys to take that risk. That’s my personal opinion,” the Swedish defenseman said this afternoon.
“I don’t understand why anyone would agree to take the risks of being in that position that we will be in once we board that plane to China,” he continued. “You send 250-plus guys, including trainers and staff, someone’s gonna get dinged.”
So, as things stand, is Erik Karlsson going to the Olympics?
“No, most likely not,” the San Jose Sharks star said. “I don’t think that, as I said, it’s very feasible, very smart as a human being to do that.”
The NHLPA held two conference calls on Monday and another is scheduled for Wednesday. According to multiple sources, potential Olympians were told the risk is this: once they get on the flight to Beijing, they lose control of their personal destiny should they receive a positive COVID test.
According to the Athletes’ Playbook, released this week, “If you have a confirmed positive test: You will not be allowed to compete/continue your role. If you are symptomatic, you will be asked to stay at the designated hospital for treatment. If you are asymptomatic, you will be asked to stay in an isolation facility.”
At a hospital, you will be discharged when: “Your body temperature returns to normal for three consecutive days; respiratory symptoms improve significantly; lung imaging shows significant improvement; you have two consecutive negative PCR test results with a sample interval of at least 24 hours; and you display no other COVID-19 symptoms.”
At an isolation facility: “You will be tested every day, beginning 24 hours after your last test. You will be discharged once you have two consecutive negative PCR test results with at least 24 hours between the two samples and no other COVID-19 symptoms.”
Nowhere does it specifically outline a three-to-five week quarantine. However, the players are being warned that is the worst-case scenario under Chinese law. And, no matter what the guidelines say, that government makes the rules and can adjust them at any time.
Erik Karlsson emphasized: “Everybody knows how much I love to play for the national team and how much I cherish the Olympic Games, but the way it is right now, it doesn’t seem doable.”
The two-time Norris Trophy winner has suited up for Tre Kronor on multiple occasions, including the 2014 Olympics and the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
“Me, having a family, I can’t take that risk,” he added. “I think that unfortunately, there’s a lot of other people that probably feel the same way even though I haven’t talked to too many guys.”
Karlsson has a two-year-old daughter, Harlow Rain, with wife Melinda.
The NHL and the NHLPA still have until Jan. 10 to pull out of the Olympics without a financial penalty. Can anything change between now and then to change Karlsson’s, and other players’, minds?
“We have it pretty good here even though we have a lot of restrictions. There’s a lot of things going on, but at least you’re at home. You’re in a place where you can get the help that you need,” Karlsson said of COVID in North America. “There’s just too many uncertainties crossing the waters and going into a different country where we can’t get a straight answer about anything.”
Sheng’s Travel Fund
Help fund Sheng's travel! Every dollar goes to the cost of getting to and from Sharks road games.