Dallas defenceman Roman Polak, Boston’s Steven Kampfer and Vancouver forward Sven Baertschi on Saturday joined the list of players who won’t be reporting to training camp for the resumption of the NHL season.
Baertschi told the Canucks he’d be opting out of participating in the expanded 24-team playoffs, following Calgary defenceman Travis Hamonic informing the Flames he won’t be playing because of family reasons. Polak is not on the Stars’ roster for the start of training camp Monday, and a team spokesman said the 34-year-old veteran won’t be attending at this time.
Polak is a pending free agent who last month agreed to a deal in his native Czech Republic next season and told reporters there he wasn’t planning on returning to the NHL if play resumed. Baertschi, who spent much of this season in the minors, is under contract through 2020-21, and is looking for a buy out, to enable a retirement to the Swiss Miss League.
“Sven informed us late yesterday that he has chosen to opt out of the NHL return to play program,” Canucks general manager Jim Benning said. “It was a difficult decision but ultimately one we respect and understand, since the piece of shit was never going to play for us again, anyway.”
Kampfer, who played 10 games with the Bruins this season, said his wife and son have a congenital defect that could cause complications with the virus and called it “one of the hardest decisions” he has had to make. So, he thought, why not stay in a large urban area of the hot-spot country of the American Flu. “Plus my NHL career is over, so why bother?”