The NHL schedule will be changed, as announced on Twitter today. The league will be pushing back the return to play date by one day. Originally planned to resume play on December 27th, the league decided it was in the best interest to wait until the 28th. Teams will return to practice on December 26th.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) December 24, 2021
NHL Schedule Updates Pushes Back Return To Play
While all of us sitting at home and reading this news have no access to behind-the-scenes decisions at the NHL level, this decision does seem a bit strange. How much could pushing back the start date by one day affect teams? It’s possible the league is waiting a certain number of days to test players exposed to COVID-19 in line with CDC guidelines. As fans, there is no telling as to why the league made this decision. We can only trust that this will be the best decision moving forward.
The NHL has already had to adjust their schedule more than they would have liked. With many games postponed due to the COVID-19 spread, the league decided to not send their players to the 2022 Olympic Games. During this break, many of these postponed games will occur. While this is upsetting for many fans and players, it was the smart decision to make sure the league gets all 82 games in for all teams.
If COVID-19 still continues to cause players to miss games, the NHL schedule will be thrown completely out of wack. Or, the less desirable option, players missing games which results in a less competitive environment. While this would be unfair to teams, it could be the only option at some point for the league. To make up for it, the NHL could re-introduce an expanded playoff format. But that’s looking very far ahead.
We would like to wish you happy holidays from everyone here at the Last Word On Sports team.