Capitals center Lars Eller is one of the most educated players in the NHL about COVID-19 — in 2020, he partnered with a technology company to donate a Cleanse Portal to a DC homeless shelter — but he has had the worst luck during the pandemic.
Eller has contracted coronavirus twice this season. His most recent bout of COVID in mid March forced him to quarantine inside a Vancouver hotel room as his teammates flew back to the United States after completing a road trip.
“It’s a nice prison cell with really nice food,” Eller said in an interview with 106.7 The Fan’s Sports Junkies on Thursday. “That’s what it is.”
Eller revealed that he spent six days stuck in purgatory before being able to travel back home to the United States. He missed three games due to the positive test.
“I had to really spend all the time in my room,” Eller said. “Yeah, [the days] were long. This is the second time. I did 10 days in Anaheim early November. It’s brutal. I knew right away, try to get in a routine, habits, so you don’t go crazy and just look at the wall there or get too anxious.”
Eller said that he had room service three times a day and stayed in shape thanks to a kind donation from the Canucks.
“I got some workout gear that Canucks trainers were nice enough to drop off,” Eller said. “Pretty much resistance bands and one of these like dumbbell sets so you can adjust from 10 pounds to 60 pounds. You lift enough weights for long enough you’ll get your heart rate up there.”
The author of the Capitals’ Stanley Cup-winning championship goal in 2018 admitted that he binged watched some TV shows, but tried something else too.
“I did some online courses,” Eller said. “Right now I’m doing some real estate courses.”
Eller was asked if he was interested in selling homes after hockey.
“I don’t know, maybe?” Eller said. “You want to keep up and hold up as many cards as you can and be able to choose what you like to do. Sometimes you have to explore what that might be. That was just something to get the time (to pass).”
Previously, Eller read Mark Messier’s new book No One Wins Alone while stuck in Anaheim.
“The quarantine is far worse than the disease itself at least in my case,” Eller said then. “It’s not healthy to sit inside for a long time, ten days. I think that’s very unhealthy for anyone so that wasn’t fun.”
Finally free to move around again, Eller planned to get out and spend time with his cohorts in Buffalo Thursday evening.
“I think we’ll go out and have a nice dinner with some of the guys,” Eller said. “We try to do that more now. The last three years we’ve always had the meals at the hotel either together or we grabbed them and eat it alone in our rooms. So we look forward to socializing a little more and going out.”
S/T to NBC Sports Washington.
Headline photo: Cara Bahniuk/RMNB