NHL Postpones Games for Three Teams

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On a report by Frank Seravalli, there are NHL postponements for three teams’ games through the Christmas break.

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NHL Postponements a Logical Reaction

There is no “official” number of players testing positive that triggers these NHL postponements. However, all three of the Florida Panthers, Calgary Flames, and Colorado Avalanche have decided, with the NHL, to shut down operations temporarily.

The Flames have the highest number of players testing positive, with 19 players on their list. They have already lost six games, including those announced today. For the Panthers, they will miss three games with their early break, and Colorado will miss four. Florida has seven players on the COVID list, and the Avalanche five.

The Panthers are based in Sunrise, Florida, in Miami-Dade County which is experiencing a massive surge in cases right now. Denver County, home of the Avalanche, is doing much better in the general population. But the number of players affected raises concern about the competitiveness of the team as well as controlling the spread of the disease. Calgary has seen a rapid spike in cases in the general population, so this is a precautionary decision for the fans and the spread there as much as it is concern for the players.

Rolling Closures Possible

The hope, of course, is that these brief closures in hot spots will be enough to keep the total number of infections down. So far the omicron variant looks to be milder than previous widespread variants. That’s excellent news, but it’s difficult to get a quick test that informs which variant has been caught. Pulling players, emptying arenas for games, and cancelling games are likely to be part of the 2021-22 season. The league is going to do everything it can to avoid another postponing of the entire schedule, as happened last season.

Another big side effect of increasing infections is the players choosing not to go to China. The league has said they won’t schedule games during the already-planned Olympic break, but realistically plans are going to be fluid until the day arrives. Since there is an expected increase in coronavirus spread every Winter, numbers are going to rise. Should they rise enough, China may well follow Japan’s lead and postpone the Games for an unknown amount of time.

There’s little that’s sure right now other than we’re all still playing this by ear. Except for the Montreal CanadiensBoston Bruins match for tonight, which is also cancelled.

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