The Toronto Maple Leafs had the night off Thursday, a night where they were supposed to be playing the Calgary Flames, but that game was postponed as so many Flames players have tested positive for COVID-19 as it sweeps across the league.
The situation feels like it is starting to spiral out of control with the Canadiens last night becoming the first team this season to play a game with no fans in the building—they beat the Flyers in a shootout, for the record.
Where things go from here is the big question on everyone’s mind. What could happen to the NHL season, the World Juniors, and the Olympics is all an open question right now as governments scramble to respond to this revolving calamity. While we can’t say with certainty how much worse things could get, it seems clear the situation will not improve in the immediate future.
It isn’t helping matters that the response from the NHL appears confused itself, with now apparently teams having an option to vote on whether or not they can play games in some circumstances.
Makar and Kuemper added to protocol close to game-time...joining Burakovsky, Compher and Toews. According to several sources, the Avalanche were given the option of not playing tonight, but voted to do so. https://t.co/IQmMWIli7d— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) December 17, 2021
Or maybe not? George Richards of Florida Hockey Now reports the Panthers were given no such option tonight, and had to play.
Per Anthony Duclair, the Florida Panthers were not given the chance to vote despite missing seven players. https://t.co/L4ntoxyZcg— George Richards (@GeorgeRichards) December 17, 2021
Anthony Duclair and his Panthers teammates have every right to be miffed about that. The NHL head office seems one step behind what is actually happening on the ground, and there’s no excuses for them to be in that position.
The Leafs are scheduled to play the Canucks tomorrow. We’ll wait and listen today to see if any testing results change those plans. One would hate to have a nice sunny afternoon game in Vancouver cancelled.
So far, the B.C. government has not followed Quebec or Ontario in announcing a reduction in capacity at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver for events. Given how things are going, this game and Sunday’s game in Seattle could be the last “normal” fan attendance games the Leafs have for some time.
The Marlies are also having COVID issues after their road trip through the US. They are scheduled to be in Michigan to play two games against the Grand Rapids Griffins this weekend after losing 4-2 to the Syracuse Crunch on Wednesday. We will wait to see if that trip over the border happens or not.
Per the Marlies, there is "no update at this time" on their COVID-19 situation.— PATRICK WILLIAMS (@pwilliamsAHL) December 17, 2021
On Wednesday the team announced that one player had tested positive for COVID-19, and four other players were isolating at home "for precautionary reasons despite testing negative."
The Devils vs. Golden Knights game blew up in the final seconds last night, and you will not be surprised to find out the Robin Lehner decided to drop his goalie glove and blocker and get involved.
The PWHPA Dream Gap tour has continued this year and here’s the top 10 highlights so far. The first one has Amanda Kessel making a really nice move.
‘It’s not good’: Wild captain Jared Spurgeon reaggravates injury - Hockey Wilderness
According to head coach Dean Evason, the 32-year-old has reaggravated the lower-body injury that kept him out for eight games.