The NHL has postponed the first game of the Buffalo Sabres vs New York Islanders series scheduled for February 2nd. The decision was made due to the NHL COVID Protocol. The teams are scheduled to face each other on February 4th.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) February 2, 2021
Buffalo Sabres vs New York Islanders Game Postponed
The Buffalo Sabres played their last two games against the New Jersey Devils, who put 10 players on the COVID Protocol List on February 1st. According to the NHL, the Sabres are still waiting on the test results and that is what lead to the decision. The team had already altered their traveling date due to weather conditions.
The New York Islanders and Buffalo are yet to record a COVID case this season. New York, however, had a scare with Josh Bailey on January 20, but the player was quickly removed from the protocol list.
New Jersey postponed their games at least until February 6th. Of course, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if a number of players from Buffalo tested positive now. This means the NHL will have to wait for the test results before rescheduling the game.
The league has been dealing with game postponements and canceled practices since the training camps started. It has become a routine to have games rescheduled or postponed through the week. It’s not a good sign and tells a lot about how much the teams are struggling to keep their players and staff healthy.
After the success the NHL had with the bubble last summer, it’s worrying to see the same league fail this badly now. However, it was obvious from the start that positive cases would happen. With teams traveling and the absence of a bubble, it’s a full plate for the virus to spread.
The NHL should consider reevaluating its protocols and maybe even postpone the season for now. This situation put players and staff at risk. It is becoming more and more obvious that this format is not working.