After clearing COVID-19 testing protocols and returning to practice on Sunday, New Jersey Devils goaltender MacKenzie Blackwood indicated he was leaning towards getting vaccinated against the virus, though he stopped short of confirming that he would or committing to a firm timeline for his decision.
“Can’t say that I wasn’t prepared for stuff like that to happen,” Blackwood said when discussing his absence from the team. “I still have things to do before I go one way or the other [on deciding to get vaccinated or not], but I’m probably going to be getting the shot in the next couple weeks.”
Blackwood, the only member of the Devils who is not vaccinated against COVID-19, received an inconclusive test for the virus on heading into Thursday’s pre-season contest against the New York Islanders. Subsequent tests were also inconclusive and Blackwood was unavailable to play in the game, which was ultimately cancelled due to a power outage at the Prudential Center.
Earlier in camp, Blackwood had said there were “a couple health concerns and health reasons” that made him wait before receiving the vaccine and that he “wanted to check off a couple of boxes, and not rush to do it.”
Blackwood went on to clarify on Sunday that the shift in his stance didn’t stem from the last few days of navigating the league’s COVID protocols, citing instead the discussions he’s had with family and friends as being a driving force in now leaning towards getting vaccinated.
“Don’t think that this changed my mind or anything like that,” Blackwood said. “Just kind of a separate event.”
The Devils do not have any more pre-season games on their schedule and will open the season on Oct. 15 at home against the Chicago Blackhawks. Jonathan Bernier, Scott Wedgewood and Akira Schmid are the other three goaltenders still in training camp with the Devils.