UPDATE: The NHL and NHLPA are suspending operations from December 22-25, per a report. There will be no practice or COVID-19 testing during those days.
While most of the sports world is dealing with the effects of COVID-19 and the recent surge in cases, the NHL is doing its best to thwart the spread and keep everyone safe. The League announced on Monday that the Montreal Canadiens and Columbus Blue Jackets won’t play games until after the holiday break. This comes after the NHL announced it would shut down all cross-border games between the U.S. and Canada through the break. The holiday break runs through Dec. 26.
On Sunday, the NHL added the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings to the growing list of teams who won’t play until at least Dec. 27. Along with those four we’ve already mentioned are the Nashville Predators, Florida Panthers, Colorado Avalanche, Calgary Flames and Boston Bruins. Here’s what the League had to say on the matter:
“Although there has been a recent increase in positive COVID test results among players, coaches and hockey staff, there have been a low number of positive cases that have resulted in concerning symptoms or serious illness,” the NHL said in a statement Sunday. “Therefore, the NHLPA’s and NHL’s medical experts have determined that, with virtually all players and club hockey staff fully vaccinated, the need to temporarily shut down individual teams should continue to be made on a case-by-case basis. The effects of recently introduced enhanced prevention and detection measures will be evaluated daily.
“The NHL and NHLPA, along with their medical experts, will be monitoring not only the number and pattern of positive COVID results, but also the depth of club lineups so as to ensure both the health and safety of the players and the integrity of League competition.”
We’ve got another team added to the list. The New Jersey Devils won’t play Monday against the Pittsburgh Penguins. New Jersey’s next two games are postponed, so the Devils won’t play until after the break. The Pens still have a game Thursday against the Philadelphia Flyers. We’ll see if that game plays or is moved.