Capitals center Lars Eller has had some tough luck this season. Twice, he’s tested positive for the coronavirus and twice, it’s been on the road. Eller is vaccinated but both NHL protocols and local regulations have required that he quarantine for an extended period of time.
His first experience with quarantine came in Anaheim, where he was scratched from the Capitals’ Nov. 16 game against the Ducks just four hours before puck drop. He remained there for 10 days before he was allowed to return to D.C. Eller told reporters ahead of his first game back, “I hope I don't have to do it again anytime soon.”
Well, anytime soon turned out to be two months. Eller landed in the NHL’s COVID protocol once again March 14, still in Vancouver following a game against the Canucks. The veteran center detailed his experience in an interview with 106.7 The Fan’s Sports Junkies on Thursday morning.
“I had to really spend all of the time in my room,” Eller said. “I got some workout gear in there. The Canucks’ trainer was nice enough to come drop off some workout stuff.” He added that all of his meals were delivered via room service and it felt like “a nice prison cell with really good food.”
In addition to using the resistance bands and dumbbells the Canucks provided for him, Eller passed the time watching TV and completing real estate courses. He wasn’t allowed to leave the room at all, citing British Columbia being “pretty strict with their rules.”
“It’s brutal,” Eller said. “I knew right away, I tried to get into a routine of getting some habits so you don’t go crazy and just look at the wall all day or get too anxious.”
Eller returned to the ice Sunday for Washington’s game against Dallas, nine days after his last appearance. He’s tallied nine goals and 14 assists in 55 games this season.