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.

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.

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.

If you’re wondering what’s giving Matthews an advantage against McDavid’s offense, it’s his defensive results.

The Chicago team have settled with Kyle Beach. No word yet on whether Chicago is accepting any responsibility for John Doe 2.

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.

Andreas Borgman is going back to Sweden with his old team where he won the SHL championship with, HV71.

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.