BLOG: Blackhawks Discuss Coronavirus Precautions
Players address new precautions in place around the NHL to help prevent the spread of COVID-19by Chris Kuc @ChrisKuc / Blackhawks.com
When Blackhawks players and coaches spoke to the media following Tuesday's practice, they did so behind a lectern with reporters seated about six feet away.
The setup was in response to the NHL's updated media policy intended to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus and is just one of the protocols the league and the Blackhawks have implemented to do their part, including washing their hands frequently, using their own pens when signing autographs and avoiding handshakes.
"Obviously, they're taking the measures to do what they think is safe," forward Dylan Strome said. "I'm not an expert on what's going on - I don't think anyone in here is an expert on what's going on - but they think this is the safest way to do things. It's just another hurdle, but I don't think it's going to make that much of a difference. We've got to walk about 100 steps coming up here, so I don't think it's too difficult. I guess we'll have to adjust until things settle down."
Like most of the population, Blackhawks players are gathering information on the virus to determine their individual courses of action when it comes to interacting with people.
"I'm not an expert on coronavirus details, any kind really, but it is one of things that's alarming a little bit when you see how fast it can spread around the whole world," captain Jonathan Toews. "It definitely makes you think. It's one of things you want to educate yourself on and makes you realize your health is pretty precious and take care of it, take care of yourself. Leave all the other stuff up to the professionals."
Video: Toews on changes due to coronavirus
There has been talk around sports that at some point events might have to be held in empty arenas, something Blackhawks players to a man hope doesn't happen.
"That's hard because obviously we play for the fans and they give us the biggest boost when we're playing," defenseman Connor Murphy said. "It would be crazy to hear an anthem at the United Center without the cheers. But that's out of our control. We just play under whatever circumstances, but that would be really hard because … the fans are the most important part."
Added Toews: "I hope that it will never have to get to that point. I think that it wouldn't but that would be pretty disappointing. But I think people's health is pretty important so you can't under-appreciate that."