BOSTON (AP) — The NHL on Saturday shut down the Boston Bruins and Nashville Predators via Christmas, bringing to 5 the variety of teams in COVID-19 limbo. Weekend video games for the Canucks and Maple Leafs additionally have been postponed because the league tries to regulate a spiraling outbreak in its locker rooms.
The NHL and its gamers affiliation agreed to day by day testing and different enhanced protocols to sluggish the unfold of the coronavirus. They will take impact instantly and final at the least via Jan. 1, with an analysis no later than Jan. 7.
“Given the increased number of positive cases in our league within the last two weeks, and changing societal realities with the new omicron COVID-19 variant, the NHLPA and NHL have collectively agreed that all Clubs shall be required to follow enhanced preventative and detection measures,” the league mentioned in a press release.
Bruins basic supervisor Don Sweeney advised reporters on Saturday night time that the plan was nonetheless to get all of the video games in and have a full Stanley Cup Playoffs.
“It may take periods where we’re in now, where we have to step back,” he mentioned. “But our intention is to play a full season and follow best practices. That will take adaptability.”
Approximately 70 gamers — 10% of the league — are within the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol and the variety of video games postponed this season has climbed past 20. Several Canadian provinces are actually or will quickly restrict attendance at massive occasions like NHL video games to 50% of capability.
Besides the day by day testing for gamers and coaches, the league mentioned “additional pregame testing may be implemented, on a case-by-case basis, when a COVID outbreak occurs within a team.”
Moments after the announcement, Detroit positioned three gamers, coach Jeff Blashill and assistant coach Alex Tanguay within the protocol forward of Saturday night time’s residence recreation towards New Jersey. The Red Wings have the one participant within the league, Tyler Bertuzzi, who is just not vaccinated.
The Bruins’ COVID-19 record grew to 9 gamers on Saturday when Taylor Hall and Curtis Lazar have been positioned within the protocol. Sweeney mentioned that the “vast majority” of the gamers have delicate signs, and a few are asymptomatic.
“One player had a day where he felt more under the weather,” he mentioned, including that two workers members additionally had what are thought-about average signs. (*5*)
The Bruins have closed their coaching services, although gamers needing therapy are allowed to return in. “Some guys took home gym equipment today to stay in shape, but it does present some challenges,” Sweeney mentioned.
Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe was added to the protocol Saturday together with defensemen TJ Brodie and Travis Dermott, goalie Jack Campbell and assistant coach Spencer Carbery on the protocol record Saturday. Players John Tavares, Alex Kerfoot, Jason Spezza and Wayne Simmonds have been positioned on the record Friday.
While postponed video games could also be rescheduled, all eyes on are the calendar: The NHL plans to permit its gamers to take part within the Winter Olympics in China in February — except COVID-19 disruptions show to be an excessive amount of.
The NHL has till Jan. 10 to choose out of the Winter Games with out monetary penalty, however it retains the precise to cancel its plans up till gamers are scheduled to journey to Beijing.
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