It’s time to get out the grey tarps and sell some really big ads. Arena capacity is to be cut in Ontario to a maximum of 1,000.

The Maple Leafs are set to resume play in Ottawa on Saturday, one day after the change in limits will take place. The Marlies are playing today in Belleville, so that have should fall under the current 50% capacity rules.

In the latest set of games postponed, the NHL removed quite a few games set for Canadian rinks to try to avoid playing to 50% ticket sales. The theory they’re going on is that things will be better in the future, and they’ll have full arenas. That optimism might not be misplaced, but the situation in Ontario means all the games in Ottawa and Toronto will be big money losers unless they punt them into the future. You can only do that so much, however.

After the Saturday game the Leafs play the Oilers on Jan 5, and then go on the road for three games from January 8 to January 15.  The next home game is January 17.

As with anything schedule related, expect that to change with little to no notice.

Toronto games postponed for Covid and for rescheduling purposes

Meanwhile, the Maple Leafs are getting more players back, crucially some of them goalies:

We won’t have complete clarity on who is well now on the Marlies until game time. Joe Woll is the likely starter, though.

If Sandin is about to come off of IR, and Mitch Marner is nearly ready, the cap crunch is about to take over where Covid left off. Something has to happen to the roster to make everyone fit. But the Leafs have every reason to wait until the very last second to deal with that. Timothy Liljegren is now in Covid protocol making their choices more complicated.

Update, from the Sportsnet story on the official announcement:

Ontario also announced a change to its isolation rules, with fully vaccinated people now required to isolate for only five days (down from 10) if their symptoms have improved for at least 24 hours and all public health and safety measures are followed.

The NHL also lowered its isolation period to five days earlier this week, but said it only applies if local public health authorities permit it.

Since these new NHL rules now apply to the Leafs, here they are:

Specifics of the changes to the Protocol after a positive test include:

  • Isolate for five days;
  • If the individual has a fever, continue to isolate until their fever resolves;
  • If the individual has no symptoms or their symptoms are resolving after five days, they can leave isolation and return to practices and games, provided the following conditions are met:
  • A lab-based PCR test that is negative, or a lab-based PCR test that has a CT value >30, or two negative molecular point of care tests collected >2 hours apart; and,
  • Medical clearance from the individual’s Club physician; and,
  • Such exit is permitted by their local health authority.
  • The individual shall continue to always wear a mask around others for five additional days, other than for practices and games./

All other aspects of the Protocol remain in place