Wednesday night, the NBA cancelled a game between the Utah Jazz and the Oklahoma City Thunder minutes before it started because one of its players, Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. The game was cancelled and both teams were put under quarantine. The NBA acted in swift order to cancel the rest of the season until further notice and place all other teams the Jazz had played in the past two weeks (including the Toronto Raptors) under quarantine as well.
NBA To Suspend Season Following Tonight's Games pic.twitter.com/2PTx2fkLlW— NBA (@NBA) March 12, 2020
Meanwhile the NHL quickly became aware of the situation, and after about an hour, released a statement saying they will release a statement in the morning. There were still a lot of things the league needed to do before making a decision, even one as serious as this.
According to multiple sources, the league still needs to speak to the owners, executive board members of the NHLPA,
The NHL statement states there will be an update tomorrow. The NHLPA will issue a similar statement tonight. The NBA decision was swift and significant. The NHL and PA need more time to speak with owners, players and all involved. Thursday will be a significant day for the NHL.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) March 12, 2020
NHLPA will obviously be communicating with executive board members (player reps) tonight and over next 24 hours. Fluid situation. Lots going on.— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) March 12, 2020
NHL conference call tomorrow with the teams, NHLPA will canvas its executive committee.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) March 12, 2020
As for the case where the league does decide to suspend play, Darren Dreger offered up a theory as to how the season would be finished. End the regular season at whatever games played each team already has (potentially move to points percentage to determine standings), and move straight to the playoffs once the suspension is lifted.
Darren Dreger on NBC Sports Network just said the NHL could suspend play Thursday, cancel the rest of the regular season and eventually resume with the playoffs. Meaning the Wild would finish one point out of the postseason. Crazy times.— Judd Zulgad (@jzulgad) March 12, 2020
Later in the night, the NBA’s G-League (their version of the AHL) also suspended play due to the coronavirus pandemic. The AHL does not have any games scheduled for Thursday, but they have 20 teams playing on Friday, including the Toronto Marlies and six other teams in their division.
Katya will be updating these articles as we know more, so keep an eye on them and the site as we try to bring you as much credible information as we can. Wash your hands. Don’t touch each other.
And if anyone wants any hockey news, check out this presser by Marlies coach Greg Moore following a 3-1 loss. It was a very January game by the Marlies in Bridgeport.