So, the Toronto Maple Leafs have had four positive COVID cases during their trip through Western Canada within the last 24 hours. Now, the rest of the team, who may still have carriers, are scheduled to play the Vancouver Canucks, who also have positive cases, tonight. And then a back-to-back across the border with Seattle.
We’ve seen in the past two weeks how quickly COVID can run through the NHL, jumping from team to team, with the League just letting them happen with no more than a shrug — there’s no intention from them to shut down Leafs games at all.
Maple Leafs forwards Wayne Simmonds and Jason Spezza have been placed into the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol.— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) December 18, 2021
Forward Alex Steeves and defenceman Carl Dahlström have been recalled from the Toronto Marlies (AHL).
What scares me the most about this is that of the four players who tested positive — Tavares, Kerfoot, Spezza, Simmonds — two of them (Tavares, Simmonds) have kids under the ages of 5 years old who can’t be vaccinated yet and Spezza’s youngest is only just over that age now.
Although there are new guidelines in place, Sheldon Keefe said he's been operating under the tightened rules since the team flew out to Edmonton. Also doesn't want to be stuck in a situation where he can't get home for the holidays: pic.twitter.com/HIXEbcXqtw— David Alter (@dalter) December 17, 2021
And I can’t help but look at the following tweet and understand why they want to just plough through.
Ice construction for the 2022 Discover NHL Winter Classic began Friday at Target Field in Minneapolis, where the Wild will face the Blues outdoors Jan. 1.https://t.co/E0o2GG0VLB— NHL.com (@NHLdotcom) December 18, 2021
At this exact moment in time (2pm ET on Fri), NHL does not currently plan to shut down operations league-wide until after Christmas holiday. Only certain teams.— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) December 17, 2021
But this is all developing rapidly. Anything and everything is possible.
Hearing Calgary, Colorado and Florida will have their games postponed through Christmas— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) December 17, 2021
Various Leafs and Branches
Jason Spezza’s suspension reduced to 4 games | by: Katya
(wait for it)
(wait for it)
3 Marlies games postponed | by: Katya
This has become commonplace in the NHL this week, as teams “valiantly” play with less players, but are still likely to spread the virus to their opponents.
The Predators will be down eight players and, once again, their entire coaching staff tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks.— Adam Vingan (@AdamVingan) December 18, 2021
And lastly, unrelated to the NHL, Marie Philip-Poulin scored her second overtime winner on Team USA in as many meetings as Canada beat the Americans 3-2 in a Rivalry Series ahead of the Olympics.