Unless something changes, Mackenzie Blackwood won't be taking his talents across any borders this season.
According to ESPN's Greg Wyshynski, the New Jersey Devils' much-discussed lone unvaccinated player is Blackwood — which means the club projects to be without its starting goaltender for a collection of games played north of the border this season.
Of course, the decision, if upheld, will also take him out of the running for Canada's Olympic team, and an opportunity many believed he could seize as one of the country's top young netminders.
Blackwood did speak on the decision Tuesday, and unlike most of the select few players choosing against the jab he appeared to leave the door open on the vaccine. He told Wyshynski that he has "a couple health concerns" to work through, which is why he's not "in a rush" to receive the encouraged doses.
Blackwood is currently weighing the pros and cons, apparently.
“First and foremost is health. Second of all the social impact is has on my teammates and myself. I care about every single person in that dressing room and I would never want to put them in a situation where I put them in a position to lose." - Blackwood, on not getting vax'd
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) September 28, 2021
What's also interesting is that Blackwood shares one potentially key commonality with two other high-profile unvaccinated NHL players, Tyler Bertuzzi and Zac Rinaldo. All three are represented by Todd Reynolds of Uptown Hockey Inc., who Blackwood says "supports" players' decision-making. Blackwood did add that it's probably more of a coincidence than anything else.
Blackwood, 24, is coming off a bit of a down season, winning 15 of his 35 starts and sporting a total save percentage several clicks below his career average at .902.
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