VOORHEES – Case closed.
One day after Jake Voracek mysteriously disappeared on Saturday, the Flyers’ star right wing was back to work at training camp on Sunday.
Voracek had a simple explanation for his absence: His COVID-19 test results from Friday came back inconclusive, so he had to be re-tested.
That meant staying away from the Skate Zone until the new data was acquired.
Thankfully, the second test proved negative.
In an interview after Sunday’s day seven of camp, Voracek said he had no problems disclosing the cause for his off-day and why there was so much secrecy around his situation.
“My test Friday didn’t come. . .it was delayed, then it came back inconclusive, so they couldn’t tell if it was negative or positive,’’ Voracek explained. “I did another one yesterday and it came back negative this morning. There was nothing wrong. Everything’s all right.
As always, Voracek downplayed the “sensational’’ reports in the media of his possible imminent demise.
“You guys (media) panic so much it’s not even funny,’’ he said with a chuckle. “You guys making it sound like I’m dying or something. Everything’s fine.’’
Seriously, just having to sit out one day of a two-week camp can have a bit of a detrimental effect. Saturday was the first day the Flyers held scrimmages, a big step in getting back to game ready.
“I was kind of ticked that I missed the scrimmage yesterday,’’ he said. “The more scrimmages you can get in, the better. It is what it is, you know. There’s nothing I can do about it.’’
In the big picture, situations like the one with Voracek once again call into question the wisdom of the NHL’s policy of a blackout of all injury/illness information.
By keeping everyone in the dark, especially at the height of the pandemic, it leads to speculation about the nature of the problem.
And in this particular case, the speculation was not that far off the mark. There was COVID-19 testing involved. Fortunately, there was a happy ending.
“In some kind of way you want to protect the player’s privacy, right?’’ Voracek said. “Say if you get it, not everyone has to know it. If you decide not to share it with everyone, that’s okay to keep it to yourself and close friends and family. That’s what’s wrong with this world today. Everyone seems entitled to know everything about each other.
“It’s not a bad thing to have some privacy sometimes. I mean do you know all the cases every day that are diagnosed, do you know all the people and everything about them? No, somebody wants to keep it quiet. If you guys want to ask me what happened, ask me. I will tell you. You don’t have to dance around it.’’
At the end of the day, the NHL Players’ Association voted for this system, which might be flawed, but everyone has to live with it.
“We’re here to play hockey,’’ Voracek said. “It’s your decision if you want share it with the world or not. I know we are in a different situation than normal people, but on the other hand, it’s our health. If we decide to share it with someone then that’s up to you. If you don’t want to share it, you don’t have to.
“It’s like I said, I know you (media) have to write about it and talk about it, but on the other hand, we are people too. We deserve to have some privacy as well, especially in times like that. I’m completely up with that. I think it’s the right decision. If you want to share it, you can. I’m the kind of guy if you ask me, I’ll probably tell you. There’s not a lot of people that want to talk about being sick or healthy.
Coach Alain Vigneault said Voracek appeared in excellent form during Sunday’s five-on-five drills after missing a day.
“Jake looked fine,’’ Vigneault said. “He had a lot of energy, a lot of pop in his skating. I’ve really liked how Jake, and I talked to him about this a couple of days ago, when he came to camp. He had obviously skated back home a couple of times a week. He’s looked good out there. He’s looked focused. I like the energy and enthusiasm he’s bringing to our group.’’
>No face shield required
Players like the 30-year-old Voracek don’t have to wear a face shield but almost everyone does.
For some reason, he’s decided not to wear one in practice during the first week of training camp.
“It’s real hot out there,’’ Voracek said. “It feels like you’re in a big bubble with your visor. I tried to take it off and you see better and get some more fresh air. That’s the focus on that. I still have to decide if I want to go without it.’’