COVID has the league in a tough spot.
The National Hockey League, like every other league, is in a brutally tough spot because of COVID. The League has been answering questions from the media, players and executives about its testing and protocol structure while players continue getting sick.
With nearly 50 games already postponed because of players being placed in protocol, the league officially hit the pause button on Monday.
The final games before Christmas will be the two still on the schedule for Tuesday. Every game that was supposed to be played on Wednesday was already postponed because of COVID.
Five games that remained on the schedule for Thursday before the NHL’s holiday break have been postponed as well. Under the revised schedule, the NHL will break from Dec. 22 through Christmas Day except for travel purposes.
The League is in the process of reviewing and revising the regular-season schedule.
On Saturday, the NHL announced new protocols for teams and players — more along the lines of the abbreviated 2021 season. Sunday, in accordance with Canada closing its borders, the league announced cross-border games have been postponed until after the holiday break.
Because of the continuing uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, the NHL and NHLPA are also rapidly approaching a decision regarding players participating in the 2022 Beijing Olympics. Fans should expect an announcement — read: players not going — in the coming days.
With the new timing of the holiday break, players will report back to their teams no sooner than Sunday, which can only be used for testing, practice and/or travel. Any practice on Sunday cannot begin before 2 p.m. local time.
Per the new league guidelines, no individual in the team’s traveling party can enter the facility for more than testing purposes until they have a negative COVID test.