Thursday night, the Leafs were supposed to host the St. Louis Blues at Scotiabank Arena, but that game has been postponed due to COVID protocols. The NHL has announced that all cross-border games up to the Christmas break has been postponed. This is the third game the Leafs have had to reschedule, with the two road games in Vancouver and Seattle on Saturday and Sunday cut.

More Maple Leafs in Covid Protocol
Maple Leafs weekend games against Canucks and Kraken postponed

The NHL is pressing the emergency stop on some NHL games as the outbreak in the league has grown exponentially. This appears to be an effort to both limit cross-border exposures as well as to give the teams some time to get their players and staff healthy.

Statistically deadly to young people or not, it’s a highly transmissible virus, people get sick and can suffer long term effects. And lets not forget that coaches and support staff, who are generally older, are also being exposed and put at risk.

The NHL announced there were conversations between themselves and the NHLPA through their medical experts about shutting down the league for the time being. Ultimately, they decided against shutting down the season due to the proportionally low number of cases with symptoms or serious illness, thanks to all players (but Tyler Bertuzzi) being vaccinated and teams encouraged to get the booster.

Olympic participation, which many saw as being on the table as cases began to rise, looks to be done. Expect a joint announcement in the near future from the NHL and NHLPA that players will not be attending.

This news also comes on the same day Hockey Canada chose to pull their Spengler Cup team from that tournament. Remember that the Spengler Cup roster for Canada is expected to be the backup team that they’ll take to the Olympics if the NHL players cannot go.

Update with another white on black NHL announcement:

That’s a lot of words to say that their practices and training facilities are closed until the end of the holiday break.