Showdown behind bars: Draisaitl hunts three trophies


High mesh fences, health checks by mobile phone, constant checks and mouth-nose protection for everyone.

Shielded from the outside world and under strict safety precautions, Leon Draisaitl continues the hunt for the Stanley Cup after a long forced corona break (Edmonton Oilers with Leon Draisaitl against Chicago Blackhawks Saturday from 9 p.m. LIVE on TV on SPORT1 +).

“The controls are strict, which is correct,” said the ice hockey superstar in an interview before the NHL restart SID: “Mask requirement and tests every day are simply part of it.”

Draisaitl and Oilers literally barracked

With his Edmonton Oilers and eleven other teams, the 24-year-old is literally barracked in the security zone around the home arena. With all the luxury, five-star hotel and classy restaurants, and as much distraction as possible with various cafes, bars, food trucks and cinemas – because Draisaitl shouldn’t and won’t get out of the “bubble” that quickly.

At the beginning of October, the first German scorer king of the NHL wants to hold the world’s most important ice hockey cup in their hands – and Edmonton will win the first championship title in 30 years. The fact that he could still get trophies as a league MVP and outstanding player of the season is of secondary importance.

“It’s an honor to be nominated, and of course I’m proud of it – but nothing trumps the Stanley Cup,” said Draisaitl.

Draisaitl: “Has a little something of a World Cup”

Because of the corona pandemic, which is raging mainly in the United States, the path to the title is very different this time. No epic playoff series in full halls with flights across the continent, instead games in the arenas in Edmonton – for the teams from the west – and Toronto – for the east in the arenas almost around the clock.

“It’s a little bit like a World Cup, definitely,” says Draisaitl. The opponents you normally only see on the ice now live in the same hotel. “You run into each other,” reports international Korbinian Holzer, who also plays with the Nashville Predators in Edmonton, the SID, “I’ve had a little chat with Leon.”

The teams should actually avoid each other in the “bubble” for the first few days until it is certain that no player is definitely infected with Corona.

The test results before moving into the Edmonton and Toronto security zone were encouraging: None of the 4,256 samples taken from July 18-25 on over 800 players were positive, according to the NHL. To keep it that way, testing is not only carried out regularly.

NHL: Masks are mandatory almost everywhere

A health app with infrared fever measurement and facial recognition literally has to be given the green light every twelve hours. “You won’t get anywhere else,” says Holzer. Masks are mandatory almost everywhere outside the ice and the cabin.

The defender, like Draisaitl, feels “safe”, also because he is not in the United States. “Canada has Corona better under control,” says Holzer. He does not fear an outbreak like in baseball with 15 infected players at the Miami Marlins and several game cancellations in ice hockey: “You have to travel, but we are well sealed off.”

For Draisaitl, who dominated the canceled main round with 43 goals and 67 assists, the final tournament begins on Saturday with the qualification round against the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Cologne native not only believes Holzer: “He went a step further and supported his team.” Ex-national coach Marco Sturm also enthuses: “He is mentally one step ahead of the other players.” Edmonton could “surprise”.


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