The Detroit Red Wings have implemented a protocol along with the rest of the National Hockey League, NBA and MLB in limiting media access to the team locker room thanks to the spread of COVID-19, otherwise known as coronavirus.
Two teams have taken things a step further, as the San Jose Sharks and Columbus Blue Jackets have announced that their next handful of home games will be played with restricted public access.
So what if that were to soon be the case at Little Caesars Arena? It wouldn’t be good for the overall atmosphere of the game, according to head coach Jeff Blashill.
“That ice was open today,” coach Jeff Blashill said, referring to the main rink at Little Caesars Arena. “We didn’t go practice there because when there is no one in the building, there’s zero atmosphere, and the practice usually is dull. So we choose to practice on the practice rink because it’s a tighter area and you feel like there’s more action.
“I don’t think anybody involved wants to play games not in front of fans. Nobody wants that. We don’t want that, the fans don’t want that, the owners don’t want that, the league doesn’t want that. But these are interesting times and certainly I understand safety concerns. … I think everyone is trying to balance making sure we’re taking the proper precautions, without being overcautious. And nobody kind of probably really knows where that fine line is.”
Blashill explained that the NHL is keeping everyone up to date on the spread of COVID-19, and that the team will abide by whatever decisions are made by the league.
“It’s kind of uncharted territory,” Blashill said. “We are going to have to abide by whatever decisions are made.”
Despite having clinched the 31st overall record in the league, the Red Wings have still enjoyed good attendance at home, selling nearly 96% of tickets.
– – Quotes via Helene St. James of The Detroit Free Press Link– –