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Ex-NHL enforcer fights virus

NHL notes

A couple of weeks ago, former Montreal Canadiens and Pittsburgh Penguins tough guy Georges Laraque was running five or six days a week as he trained for a marathon.

Now, the former NHL enforcer’s biggest challenge is trying to breathe clearly as he fights COVID-19 from a hospital in Montreal.

“Now I can’t even get up without losing my breath. It’s insane,” he said.

In a series of videos from his hospital bed, the 43-year-old said he began feeling symptoms a week ago Sunday when he was helping to deliver groceries to vulnerable people in his community.

Over the next days, his condition deteriorated.

“I have pneumonia in both my lungs, they’re affected by the COVID because I have asthma, I have to have oxygen blowing through my nose,” said Laraque, who wore a hospital gown and could be seen coughing at times during the videos.

“The nights are the worst,” he said. “At night, I have fevers a couple times a night. I have to get up and take pills.”

Laraque thanked the staff at Charles-Le Moyne hospital who have been taking care of him, and told people not to feel sorry for him because, “I’m not the only one fighting this.”

Laraque played parts of 12 seasons in the NHL from 1997 to 2010, including eight with Edmonton and two with Pittsburgh. He capped his career with two seasons in Montreal.

Border questions

The NHL could face another hurdle if the league decides to continue the 2019-20 season in the near future — getting non-Canadian resident players across the border to join their teams.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Sunday that players would — at a minimum — need to follow quarantine protocols if they were to arrive in Canada while the border remains closed due to the pandemic.

“I think it’s a question we’ll have to look into,” Trudeau said.

The Associated Press reported earlier that Edmonton and Toronto were being looked at as possible “hockey pod” cities that could host the remainder of the NHL season during the summer months. Games would be played in air-conditioned arenas without fans.

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