Frederik Andersen wants to be back in his crease this summer. Read MoreLeafs’ Andersen seeks more info, but says “I want to play” this summer — Toronto Sun
Leafs’ Andersen seeks more info, but says “I want to play” this summer
Published:June 30, 2020
Updated:June 30, 2020 4:51 PM EDT
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Frederik Andersen wants to be back in his crease this summer.
The Maple Leafs goaltender would love nothing more than to try to help Toronto eliminate the Columbus Blue Jackets in the qualifying round of Phase 4 of the National Hockey League’s Return to Play plan.
Before that potentially happens, however, Andersen is willing to wait.
“I don’t think we have enough information yet,” Andersen said on Tuesday during a Zoom call with media, referring to which way he might vote on a return to play given the health issues regarding the COVID-19 pandemic that must be taken into account.
“The PA (NHL Players’ Association) and the league are still ironing that out and then we will see. It seems like it’s the 11th hour here, so hopefully things will progress in the next week or so because the July 10th goal (to open training camp) is coming up soon. I’ll make that decision once I get more info.
“The whole thing in general has to make sense. Safety is very important and probably the most important.
“I want to play. I don’t want to just sit and waste a summer and a season.”
The NHL announced on Monday that 26 players in total have tested positive for COVID-19 since June 8, including 15 who have reported to training facilities for optional workouts as part of Phase 2.
Andersen, who has been back in Toronto “for quite a bit now,” was asked what gives him confidence that it will be safe for the NHL to return to play games this summer.
“I’m not quite 100% confident yet,” Andersen said. “The league is very adamant in working toward that.
“I think once we get to the hub cities, everyone will have to be confident and the league will have a good setup. It’s a matter of getting there first.”
The announcement of the NHL’s two hub cities is expected relatively soon. Las Vegas, Toronto, Edmonton, Chicago and Los Angeles were the last cities to be in the running.
“If it is a bubble and it’s done the right way, I don’t think it really should matter (which cities are chosen),” Andersen said. “It could be anywhere. Whatever is the best setup, once we figure that out, I hope we should be good to go.”
And if the Leafs play in Toronto? Andersen doesn’t see that as an advantage.
“Once everyone is there, I think people will be familiar with the hotel, the rink, all that stuff,” Andersen said. “There won’t be fans, obviously, so I think all that stuff will be a pretty even playing field for everyone.”
Andersen had been staying with Leafs centre Auston Matthews initially during the NHL pause at Matthews’ home in Scottsdale, Ariz., but said he was in California working out with his personal trainer when the state of Arizona recently saw a spike in coronavirus cases. Andersen wouldn’t comment on Matthews’ positive COVID-19 test result, reported by the Toronto Sun’s Steve Simmons on June 19.
“Regarding everyone else and other people’s medical, I don’t want to comment on that,” Andersen said. “I don’t think it’s the right thing for me to do that.”
Andersen has been taking part in on-ice sessions at the Ford Performance Centre in the voluntary workouts, but otherwise must quarantine in his downtown condo until his two-week period is done. It will conclude before July 10, Andersen said.
“The Leafs have done an amazing job of cleaning the facility out there and I think they have done a really good job of setting us up for a safe environment,” Andersen said.
“I feel like I have been able to keep my good shape and work on things I could off the ice, but the on-ice timing is going to be key.”
And then, if the NHL has been able to properly move to Phase 4, a Leafs date with the Blue Jackets.
“They’re a deep team, a team we have to be ready for,” Andersen said. “It will be a tough task, but something we have to work on and getting confident we can win.”