Along with all the other teams in Ontario, the Leafs have reduced capacity at Scotiabank Arena down to 50% as COVID-19 cases spike yet again. The Toronto Marlies have a confirmed positive case as of yesterday afternoon with four additional players isolating at home for precautionary reasons. The Marlies could only run 17 skaters in last night’s loss to the Syracuse Crunch.
Statement from MLSE & the Toronto Maple Leafs pic.twitter.com/aNnMXeReQP— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) December 15, 2021
The Toronto Marlies announced today that one player has tested positive for COVID-19 while another four players are isolating at home for precautionary reasons despite testing negative and will not be available for tonight’s game versus Syracuse.— Toronto Marlies (@TorontoMarlies) December 15, 2021
As governments get set to apply more restrictions, the NHL is reportedly getting ready to re-institute “enhanced protocols” for team players and staff. That’s likely going to mean mask mandates for team personnel at team facilities, increased testing, a return to virtual meetings, and strongly encouraging players and staff limit social interactions in and out of the rink. [ESPN]
“The NHL has not considered putting its season on pause, and hopes to be able to finish it on a normal time schedule. The biggest question facing the league now is whether players will go to the Olympics in Beijing in February. NHL players negotiated for Olympic participation in their latest collective bargaining agreement, but the league has an opt-out clause.”
14 teams are currently have players or staff in COVID protocol. Sportsnet has a teams COVID Protocol Tracker that is updated regularly.
Assuming Evgeny Kuznetsov tested positive, this would be his third bout with covid. https://t.co/CKNuVOIg76— Samantha Pell (@SamanthaJPell) December 15, 2021
And as bad as it is in the NHL, the pandemic has been hitting the minor leagues a lot harder all season long. The OHL is having games postponed at the moment, while the AHL has been getting positive cases and needing games rescheduled pretty much all season long.
Due to League Covid-19 protocols affecting the Owen Sound Attack Hockey Club and out of an abundance of caution, tonight's game between the Attack and visiting Kitchener Rangers has been postponed. https://t.co/S1u50xPNUS pic.twitter.com/ALToo9Rfxx— OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) December 15, 2021
If you’re wondering what’s giving Matthews an advantage against McDavid’s offense, it’s his defensive results.
Auston Matthews better slow down. He's approaching a level where we might not be able to keep saying McDavid is the best player in the league per our data, and I'm not too happy about that.— EvolvingWild (@EvolvingWild) December 15, 2021
The Chicago team have settled with Kyle Beach. No word yet on whether Chicago is accepting any responsibility for John Doe 2.
The Blackhawks have settled with Kyle Beach. Full statement: pic.twitter.com/kVEl59uxZl— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) December 15, 2021
And after clearing house, Chicago is looking outside of hockey’s tiny, reused pool of candidates. Probably a better idea than bringing back Marc Bergevin, for example.
Sources tell @DailyFaceoff the #Blackhawks have begun two-fold process that will set table for their leadership search.— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) December 15, 2021
Starts with hiring “NBA GM Kingmaker” Mike Forde, includes multiple high-level convos w/ other pro sports execs, like #Cubs Jed Hoyer.https://t.co/bJmLYaCi07
Andreas Borgman is going back to Sweden with his old team where he won the SHL championship with, HV71.
Kellman (SJ) clears unconditional waivers. Borgman (DAL) on unconditional waivers for purposes of contract termination— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) December 15, 2021
Hockey agency Gold Star have hired a director of player development, and it’s Jimmy Howard.
And some pretty scathing words against the Habs coach by his own player for your coffee this morning.
Petry is being pretty clear when he says the team lacks structure: Ducharme is not an NHL caliber coach. It's time to move on.— Eric Macramalla (@EricMacramalla) December 15, 2021