Tuesday’s Hurricanes versus Wild game has been postponed. The announcement comes after four additional Hurricanes players tested positive for COVID-19 following a morning skate in Minnesota.
— Michael Russo (@RussoHockey) December 14, 2021
Hurricanes Versus Wild Postponed
Prior to arriving in Minnesota, two Hurricanes players and one trainer had tested positive for COVID-19. Those players were Seth Jarvis and star center Sebastian Aho. The trio stayed behind in Vancouver, where the team played Sunday, to quarantine. At the time of reporting, the identity of the four players who tested positive in Minnesota had not been announced. Suspecting an active transmission, the NHL stepped in and cancelled Tuesday’s contest. The Minnesota Wild were slated to face the Carolina Hurricanes at Xcel Energy Center Tuesday night.
The Bigger Picture
The Hurricanes had played the Calgary Flames on December 9th in Calgary. The Flames are experiencing their own COVID outbreak, with nine players and one staff member testing positive. The NHL moved to postpone the next three Flames games, making the announcement Monday. The Flames will remain out of action until at least December 16th, if the league deems the outbreak under control.
The NHL is dealing with a large COVID problem. There are now upwards of 30 players in the league’s COVID protocol, including star players such as Matt Barzal and Brad Marchand. Continued outbreaks could legitimately threaten the schedule as more and more games are postponed. Further, the games that are played feature rosters heavy on AHL call-ups since NHL regulars are entering COVID protocol at such a high rate.
On top of all this, the issue of NHL participation at the Winter Olympics in Beijing remains a focal point. Though the league has left the final call to participate or not up to the players, the NHL retains the ability to pull out if it feels the ability to complete the season is threatened. If the NHL does not send players to Beijing, the Olympic break will be used to re-schedule games that have been postponed.
The NHL is close to crisis mode. There are several players being added to the COVID-19 list daily. It will not be surprising if we see even more games canceled in the coming days. And if that happens, it will be hard to justify sending players to the Olympics.
Outbreaks and postponements have become a norm within the last year. The Hurricanes and Wild are the latest to fall victim to this new reality.