Former Capitals forward Justin Williams spoke to Carolina Hurricanes media in a Zoom call on Tuesday.
The Canes captain shared advice for his teammates that applies to every American during the coronavirus pandemic.
“You need to tighten up the bubble of people you’re hanging out with,” Williams said according to Chip Alexander of the News & Observer. “You need to make your inner circle is pretty darn small because what you do affects everybody else.
“That’s pretty much the basis of what a team is anyway. You’re only as strong as your weakest link, but at this point, your weakest link can take down your whole team.”
Also, apparently, so can a flatulence.
With everyone wearing masks nowadays, people think they can just fart wherever they want….I can still smell it!!😷
— Justin Williams (@JustinWilliams) May 30, 2020
Williams’ comments come a week after five members of the St. Louis Blues ended up testing positive for COVID-19 after a bar visit. The Blues were forced to cancel practice on Friday. 35 players total have tested positive for coronavirus since June 8. Meanwhile, over the weekend, several Capitals players and their families — including Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov, and adopted Russian Tom Wilson — had dinner together.
The United States is currently reporting over 50,000 positive cases of COVID-19 per day. Meanwhile, in its return to the baseball diamond, the MLB has seen several teams, including the Washington Nationals, cancel practices in their home parks this week due to lagging test results.
The NHL’s current return-to-play protocols have league-wide training camps set to begin on July 13. Teams will leave for their bubble cities on July 26 before the 24-team playoff beginning on August 1.
“My biggest concern, maybe the team’s biggest concern, is what if there’s an outbreak on the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 5 and seven of us can’t play or 10 of us can’t play?” Williams said. “What happens to the team? Is it a forfeit? Do you wait a couple of weeks?
“That’s the main concern that we have. It’s not playing the game of hockey because we’re all going to go out there and we’re all going to give our best to battle for the Stanley Cup. But it would be extremely frustrating having those symptoms and coming down with the virus somehow and not being able to play.”
The 38-years-old Williams, who re-signed with the Carolina Hurricanes in early January after contemplating retirement, only played in 20 games (8g, 3a) before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I didn’t come back to play 20 games,” Williams said. “I came back for a chance to win a Stanley Cup. Thankfully, I think we’re going to get that opportunity.”
The Hurricanes must defeat the New York Rangers, a team that swept them during the regular season (4-0), in the play-in round to advance.
“Washington had our number last year, also,” Williams said, pointing to the Hurricanes seven-game upset of the Capitals in the first round last year. The Canes would lose in the Eastern Conference Final. “Playoff hockey is very different. We’re certainly not going into this (Rangers) series thinking we’re an underdog. We’re a Stanley Cup contender and we know that.”
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