The NHL announced today that the Dallas Stars will open their 2020-21 regular season on Friday, Jan 22nd at home against the Nashville Predators. The Stars season has been delayed due to a COVID outbreak amongst the squad.
A five-game Friday includes the first of nine ‘Battle of Ontario’ contests this season with the expected debut of @Senators rookie Tim Stützle on his 19th birthday. The other four games are rematches from season-opening contests.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) January 15, 2021
Jan 22nd will be Dallas Stars Season Opener
On January 9th, the league postponed Dallas’ back-to-back season opener against the Columbus Blue Jackets. This was following the news that six players and two staff members had tested positive for COVID-19 during a routine battery of tests. By January 12th, this number had reportedly risen to 17 out of the 27 players on the roster. Most players were asymptomatic and all were in self-isolation, fulfilling COVID protocols. As a result of the outbreak, the Stars had to close their training facility for four days. They resumed their training camp on Tuesday.
This means that the Stars’ beginning of the season changes dramatically. Their third and fourth games on the original schedule against the Tampa Bay Lightning also had to be postponed. Therefore, instead of four consecutive away games, the Stars will play the Nashville Predators and the Detroit Red Wings four times at home during their first week of the season. The Dallas Stars’ first puck drop of the season will be against the Nashville Predators at American Airlines Center on January 22nd, 8:30 pm ET.
What This Means Going Forward
Overall, a total of 10 games have had to be rescheduled to account for the viral outbreak within the Stars’ roster. When Dallas takes to the ice for the first time next Friday, the rest of the league will have played either three, four or five games respectively.
Dallas Stars’ coach Rick Bowness has seemingly reacted to the situation as par for the course for this season. “ We usually put out a weekly schedule, telling everybody exactly what we are doing. But at the top of the page, (this season) it reads, ‘subject to change on a daily basis’… We teach our players just to roll with the punches. Whatever happens, we’re going to deal with it. The guys were in great shape and great frame of mind. Now we’re starting all over again.”