Edmonton Oilers defenseman Mike Green and Montreal Canadiens defenseman Karl Alzner, two longtime Washington Capitals players, were among the handful of players to opt out of the NHL restart this weekend.
“Due to the uncertainties surrounding COVID-19 and after much consideration, I’ve decided, for deeply personal family health reasons, not to participate in the return to play,” Green said in a statement.
“This has been a hard decision knowing I’m going to miss the opportunity to compete in the playoffs with a Stanley Cup contender. I wish the best of luck to the guys and I appreciate the Edmonton Oilers’ support.”
Edmonton acquired Green, 34, from the Detroit Red Wings at the trade deadline before the pandemic put a halt to the NHL season. Green, a pending unrestricted free agent, only played two games for the Oilers.
The blueliner played his first 10 NHL seasons in Washington before heading to Detroit. He made two All-Star Games with the Capitals and earned the nickname “Game Over Green” for how often he would score game-winning goals.
Alzner was a regular starting defenseman for Washington at the start of last decade and didn’t miss a game from 2010 to 2017 before the Capitals chose not to re-sign him. The Canadiens did not say why Alzner decided not to return.
Other players reportedly opting out of the NHL restart include Travis Hamonic of the Calgary Flames, Sven Baertschi of the Vancouver Canucks and Steven Kampfer of the Boston Bruins.
But no current Capitals players, as of yet, have said they will opt out.