New Jersey Devils goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood 'currently' unvaccinated, doesn't rule it out

NEWARK, N.J. -- Mackenzie Blackwood, New Jersey Devils goaltender, said he did not receive the COVID-19 vaccine, which could make him unavailable for some games this season.
He said that he is not currently vaccinated and left open the possibility of getting the vaccine. He is the Devils' only player who has not been vaccinated.

"I haven't decided which way I'm going to go." Blackwood stated that he is taking a little more time. "I have some health concerns and reasons that I am taking it slower. I wanted to make sure that it was checked off and not rush.

According to the NHL, 98% of its players have been vaccinated by October 12. Although there was not a league mandate for vaccines, teams strongly encourage their players to be vaccinated due to travel restrictions.

The NHLPA and NHL have reached an agreement regarding COVID-19 protocols. Teams will be able to suspend players who aren't vaccinated. This includes inability to participate in games in Canada. The NBA has a National Interest Exemption that allows its players to play against the Toronto Raptors on the road, but the NHL didn't apply for an exemption from the country's travel quarantine rules for its U.S-based teams.

This season, the Devils will face nine Canadian teams. The Winnipeg Jets will be their first stop, on Dec. 3.

Blackwood stated that the Devils had not spoken of being suspended because they were not vaccinated for these road trips.

Players who are not vaccinated will have their movement restricted when they travel in the U.S. They will have to adhere to social distancing protocols, which their vaccinated teammates won't be.

Blackwood stated, "I'm trying not to distract them while I work through this." "I don’t like making it more difficult for my colleagues or the staff." I prefer things to be normal."

Blackwood stated that there are many factors that he considers when making his decision. These include the possible impact of his inability to get vaccinated on his relationships with his teammates.

"Health is the most important thing. The social impact it has had on me and my teammates is second. He said that he cares about each person in the dressing room and would not want to make their job harder or place them in a losing position. "The financial loss is not something I have thought about because it's not as significant to me."

Blackwood was diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last season. This occurred just before an epidemic on the Devils roster. Blackwood complained of a severe cough and difficulty breathing. He said that he didn't have the best lungs his whole life and was aware that COVID-19 would affect him.

Blackwood missed six games following his January 20th entry into the COVID-19 protocol. The protocol had 20 Devils members, so they were eliminated as a team in the first 15 days.

"It's serious. It's not something to be taken lightly. He said that he had it and it wasn't very good.

He stated that his COVID-19 antibodies are "one reason why I can take a little more time." But he also said that he knows they won't last forever.

Blackwood stated that he is now 100% healthy from COVID-19. However, he had offseason surgery to repair a broken heel and he was not suffering any further complications.

Blackwood is New Jersey's future goalie. Blackwood is entering his fourth season as an NHL goalie. He has a record of 46-41-12 over 105 games with a.911 save rate and 2.83 goals against average.

The Devils signed veteran Jonathan Bernier (33), to a $2.25 million, two-year contract. Scott Wedgewood (28), who played in 16 games last year, is the next veteran to be added to the depth chart.

Some teams have taken legal action against people who refuse to get the vaccine. Because of their unvaccinated status, the Columbus Blue Jackets fired Sylvain Lefebvre, assistant coach and demoted forward Zac Rialdo to AHL.

Agent Todd Reynolds is a client of Rinaldo and Blackwood as well as Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi (also unvaccinated). "I believe Todd is a man who supports the player’s decision. Blackwood stated that he believes it's more of an accident than anything else.