Around the NHL
"We love playing this sport, and I don't think there is one guy who wasn't appreciative for the chance to win the Cup this summer," one Western Conference player said. "But also, I don't think a lot of fans realize what an emotional toll the bubble took on some guys -- the isolation, the grind, being away from our families and loved ones during a really stressful time to begin with. To be honest, after the first few days, I noticed a lot of guys were more down than they usually are. Some guys were legitimately sad. It's not easy living like that for two months."
ESPN debriefed with nine players -- five from the Western Conference and four from the Eastern Conference -- who, on the condition of anonymity, answered dozens of questions about what life was really like inside the bubble, from playing in empty buildings to being trapped in hotels to food, drinking and drugs.
It's the NHL bubble confidential.
The “drinking and drugs” part is very tame, but there is a lot of interesting stuff in here. Reading this, I thought to myself “why do they even have a union if it’s this weak” more than once.
Kesler, who played 1,001 games for the Vancouver Canucks and Anaheim Ducks, hasn't played in the NHL since March 2019 because of chronic hip problems. To manage the pain, he said he would frequently take toradol, a drug not approved for long-term use. "I never wanted to hurt the team, so I knew I had to play. To play, you have to take painkillers," he said.
This is a really disturbing read, especially considering what we know about how so many people who become addicted to opioids start off with pain medication.
There are people starting to speak out about the issues raised in the previous article.
Another NHLer reached out yesterday.— Rick Westhead (@rwesthead) September 23, 2020
He stopped Toradol injections after several weeks for a bad back & felt like he’d been in a car crash. The drug had masked pain from 2-3 new injuries.
He “crawls" out of bed many mornings & has gone to Colombia for $20K stem cell procedure.