Hurricanes winger Justin Williams concerned how viral outbreak would affect team

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Carolina Hurricanes are expected to open training camp in less than a week and be playing the New York Rangers by the end of the month. There is a lot to figure out before the puck drops.

It's not the tournament format, playing in Canada or even getting sick himself that has Justin Williams concerned. It's the uncertainty of how an outbreak would affect the team.

"Seven of us can't play or 10 of us can't play or you have a situation like that. What happens to the team? Is it a forfeit? Do you wait a couple of weeks? That's the main concern that we have," he said.

To avoid the virus, Williams said he expects everyone's inner circle to be "pretty darn small." The team's health is only as strong as its weakest link. Williams can't imagine this won't be taken seriously.

"At the end of the day, you're handing out the Stanley Cup," he said. "This isn't just going out and playing some exhibition games. This is legit. This is for it all. This is what you play for. It's a unique circumstance obviously, but at the end of the day, you're going to get your name on the Stanley Cup, and nobody will be able to take that away from you."

Hub cities Toronto and Edmonton will host all the games. With no fans to pull from, the Canes will have to create their own energy.

"It doesn't matter where we are. You could be playing in Finland. It just doesn't matter," Williams said. "We're playing on a rink that's the same as everywhere else."

Whenever things resume, play-by-play man John Forslund might be absent. Williams doesn't want to interfere with any negotiation but is hopeful a deal gets done.

"He's one of the best in the league, for a reason got voted that. He's great and will continue to be great. I'm hoping he's going to be here with the Hurricanes," Williams said.

The Rangers won all four meetings between the two teams before the shutdown. Williams is quick to point out that they didn't fare so well against the Washington Capitals last season before upending them in the playoffs.

"We're a Stanley Cup contender and we know that," Williams said.
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