The Minnesota Wild, Buffalo Sabres, Colorado Avalanche, and New Jersey Devils have added in a total of 11 new players to the NHL COVID Protocol List on Wednesday. All of Minnesota’s games have been postponed at least until February 9.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) February 4, 2021
Eleven New Players Added to The NHL COVID Protocol List
After having to postpone all of the Buffalo Sabres games until at least February 8th, the NHL is now facing a COVID breakdown. Minnesota has added five players, Nick Bjugstad, Nick Bonino, Joel Eriksson Ek, Marcus Johansson, and Jared Spurgeon, to the Protocol List. Buffalo has added Tobias Rieder and Brandon Montour only one day after adding Taylor Hall and Rasmus Ristolainen. Colorado added Tyson Jost, being their first player on the list since Erik Johnson at the start of the season. And New Jersey now has 17 players on the list.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) February 3, 2021
This is probably their worse week since the start of the season. And it shows how much of an error it is to be having the season during a pandemic. The NHL started their 2020-21 season having to cancel all Dallas Stars games until January 22nd due to multiple COVID cases on the team. There have been 22 games postponed and 18 of those were after the season started.
This entire situation was predictable. There are multiple teams in the United States who are hosting fans. The travelling is probably not helping when they have to stay in hotels that are not NHL exclusive. Maybe it is time for the league to stop and rethink the strategy. The bubble was not ideal but it worked perfectly when it came to protecting their players and staff members. However, it’s clear that neither the league nor the players seem to want that.
Their protocol is obviously not working. As careful as the teams might be, new players are being added to the list every day. The biggest problem is: not many of them are being taken off of it.
Looking to the Future
Having NHL hockey back is fantastic, especially after the long stretch without it. But the circumstances are not favourable at the moment. Maybe it is time to start considering pausing the season once again and tracing a new plan. As bad as it might be for the fans, the players and staff’s health should be the priority right now.