Frederik Andersen can really feel the clock ticking.
Back in Toronto observing a 14-day quarantine, with an eye fixed in direction of being on the ice with teammates for the beginning of coaching camp July 10, the Maple Leafs goalie is aware of its crunch time to resolve whether or not or not the pandemic-hit 2019-20 season can really resume.
“It seems like it’s the 11th hour here,” Andersen stated on a convention name Tuesday. “Hopefully things will progress a little bit in the next week.”
Or ideally sooner.
The NHL and NHL Players’ Association proceed to barter a lot of points associated to its return-to-play protocol, together with heath and security measures, the situation of two hub cities poised to host 12 groups every in fan-less arenas, and an extension to the collective bargaining settlement for a league that has already misplaced boatloads of cash for the reason that schedule was paused March 12.
“The whole thing has to make sense,” Andersen stated. “Future CBA stuff, obviously safety is very important.”
The NHLPA’s rank and file should log off on no matter plan emerges — a easy majority will get it over the road — however echoing feedback made by Montreal Canadiens netminder Carey Price final week, Andersen stated he wants extra info earlier than deciding which method to lean.
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“The [union] and the league are still ironing that out, then we’ll see,” stated the 30-year-old. “The July 10 goal [for camps] is coming up soon.”
That date could possibly be pushed again a number of days, however the league goals to renew beneath its 24-team format on the finish of July or early August with gamers remoted away from the final inhabitants in so-called “bubbles” in hopes of holding COVID-19 at bay.
‘Not fairly 100 per cent assured’
Still, there are questions that want answering.
“I’m not quite 100 per cent confident yet,” Andersen stated on whether or not the season could be accomplished safely. “The league is very adamant of working towards that. Once we get to the hub cities, I think everyone will have to be confident and the league will have a good setup.
“But it is a matter of getting there.”
Andersen spent a large chunk of the hiatus isolating with teammate Auston Matthews at the star centre’s house in Arizona.
The pair posted videos and pictures on social media of their time together in the desert sun, including an impressive alley-oop dunk off a pass from the roof of the sprawling mansion into a net attached to a sun-drenched pool.
“We tried to share among the enjoyable we had,” Andersen said. “We get alongside nice. Just attempting to make one of the best of it… very fortunate to have the ability to go down there.”
He was also probably lucky to leave when he did.
Left Arizona before spike in cases
Andersen said he’d travelled to California to work with his personal skills coach by the time Arizona saw its novel coronavirus infection rates start to spike in mid-June. The Dane added he and Matthews had parted ways by the time the 22-year-old reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. The Leafs have declined to comment on the story first published June 19 by The Toronto Sun, citing NHL protocol related to the virus.
Andersen, who skated with Matthews down south, also wouldn’t touch a question related to his teammate’s health Wednesday, but Toronto’s No. 1 goalie said he’s been back in Toronto “for fairly a bit now” and has returned to ice at the team’s practice facility during his quarantine.
Andersen was 29-13-7 with a .909 save percentage and a 2.85 goals-against average in 52 starts — his worst statistical performance with the Leafs since being acquired from Anaheim in 2016, although he was hung out to dry by suspect defensive play on numerous occasions — when the 2019-20 season was halted.
He suffered a neck injury in early February, which came in the middle of an 12-game stretch where his save percentage dipped to .871, but was 5-1-1 with a .931 mark in seven starts before the pause.
If the season does resume, Toronto will need Andersen at or near his best to get past the Columbus Blue Jackets in the best-of-five qualifying round leading into the usual 16-team playoff format.
But there’s still plenty of ground to cover before the games can actually begin.
“I need to play,” Andersen said. “I do not need to simply sit and waste the summer time and the season.”
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