I’m not going to lie, the past two days have felt eerily like the start of the week of the first COVID lockdown. Cases spiking, tons of worrisome tweets from health experts, news that government officials were meeting to discuss tightening restrictions to travel, social gatherings, and so on.
The same is happening right now in the NHL.
That’s because since the start of Monday, more than a full NHL team’s roster has been put on COVID protocol.
#NHLBruins add Brad Marchand to Covid-19 protocol.— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) December 14, 2021
Devon Toews has entered the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol.— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) December 14, 2021
Justin Barron has been recalled from the Colorado Eagles.
#Flames GM Brad Treliving walking the media through the team's COVID situation.— Hailey Salvian (@hailey_salvian) December 14, 2021
Says they went from 0 positive tests, to 3 late Saturday night/early Sunday, to 7 on Sunday night. Now up to 10 (9 players and 1 member of the training staff).
They will continue to test daily.
#Oilers Ryan McLeod may not be alone on the protocol list. Sounds like EDM has a potential positive on the coaching staff, as well. Believe they are re-testing to make sure there’s not a false positive.@DailyFaceoff— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) December 14, 2021
Oilers head coach Dave Tippett officially placed in Covid protocol.— Mark Spector (@SportsnetSpec) December 15, 2021
In addition, sounds like #preds may also be facing multiple positive tests among their coaching staff. Should have more info in the morning, but NSH is not practicing tomorrow.— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) December 15, 2021
Scheduled to host #Avs on Thurs. https://t.co/szcBCI3Rkh
Ontario's chief medical officer of health Dr. Kieran Moore says the govt will likely have news later this week re limiting large gatherings at venues such as NHL arenas.— Rick Westhead (@rwesthead) December 14, 2021
Moore: "As you know, the smaller the better." https://t.co/1P0dTxvuQO
The immediate future of pro sports is uncertain around the world thanks to Omicron.— Rick Westhead (@rwesthead) December 14, 2021
The NFL had 37 players test positive for Covid-19 on Monday & England's Premier League reported record 42 cases over past week.
Some Euro soccer teams back to playing in empty stadiums.
It was bad enough that some games, which were allowed to happen, included two players being pulled from the game due to a positive test or being allowed to play through some kind of illness.
"Blackwood was probably one of our sickest guys and he decided he'd give it a go and give it everything he had. And you know he was probably exhausted after two periods and decided to take him out." - #NJDevils Lindy Ruff.— Amanda Stein (@amandacstein) December 15, 2021
Canucks defenceman Tucker Poolman will not return to tonight’s game. Poolman has been placed into the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol.— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) December 15, 2021
You get the point.
As a response to all of this, the NHL and NHLPA met to talk about tightening their COVID protocols, per Dreger:
Basically, it would be a return to last seasons protocols. May not be indefinite, but a response is required amid a spike in cases across the NHL. https://t.co/3vkBUPVrDy— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) December 15, 2021
According to an article by Pierre LeBrun, that will include:
- Increasing the frequency with which players are tested from every three days to every day.
- Expanding their protocols for wearing masks.
- They will also likely push players to get their boosters as soon as possible.
This is happening so fast, with the new variant leading to increased cases everywhere, not just among the NHL for professional leagues and not just in North America. The way things are progressing, I’m not so sure that those new protocols will do much. Not in time. At this rate, the All Star break and Olympics break can’t come too soon, and it remains to be seen if any of the players will actually go.
ONTO THE LINKS
Maple Leafs game postponed | by Katya, as the Leafs’ game against the Flames scheduled later this week has been postponed due to the Flames’ many players put on COVID protocol.
Marlies sign Joe Blandisi to a PTO | by Katya
Poor Seney gets his first opportunity with the Leafs and then will probably immediately land on injured reserve.
Keefe says Brett Seney was hurt during the game and may have broken a finger.— James Mirtle (@mirtle) December 15, 2021
In much cooler news...
Inbox: This is very cool. Alex Randall will call the @ErieOtters game on Martin Luther King Jr. Day on OHL Live.— Mark Scheig (@markscheig) December 14, 2021
Randall will become the first black play-by-play voice in OHL history.
Stay safe everyone!