The growing list of NHL games being postponed because of Covid-19 cases throughout the league grew on Sunday as the possibility of the league’s brightest stars participating in the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics dimmed as well.
On Sunday, the NHL postponed any games involving teams which would have to cross the border until the end of the Christmas holiday break.
The decision to postpone cross-border games was announced in a release.
The NHL had already postponed 27 games going into the weekend and there was to be 12 more due to the cross-border decision.
Sunday night, the Toronto Maple Leafs were the latest team to shut down.
Monday, Columbus and Montreal joined the postponement party.
That brings us to the Winter Olympics.
As Colby Guy wrote on Sunday here at FHN, Florida Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau — a shoo-in for Team Canada — admitted Thursday that the restrictive nature of potentially testing positive for Covid in China has players reconsidering how much they want to go.
Last week, Olympic organizers announced athletes who test positive for Covid while in China for the Games will be required to quarantine for three to five weeks in China before being allowed to leave.
”I think all the players are thinking about that,” Huberdeau said.
“You don’t want to be stuck in China. It’s something we have to talk about. But right now, it’s not my preoccupation.
The NHL has never really been a fan of shutting down in February for the Olympics and now could use those dates to reschedule some of those games.
With NBA teams sharing many arenas and concerts being scheduled, that may not always be an option.
But a lot of games could be made up in February. The NHL also had a second schedule made up just in case players did not go to Beijing. Some arenas did not release those secondary dates.
“The NHL and NHLPA are actively discussing the matter of NHL Player participation in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, and expect to be in a position to announce a final determination in the coming days,” the statement said.
We don’t think NHL players are going to the Olympics. Again.
FLORIDA PANTHERS LINKS
The Colorado Avalanche were trying to send goalie Jonas Johansson down to the AHL Colorado Eagles before the Panthers claimed him off waivers Monday.
Johansson would have started Saturday in St. Paul, but that game was called off. His first Florida start will have to wait another day. (FHN)
— In fact, the Panthers are done through Christmas. (FHN)
— Chase Priskie had a nice opportunity with the Panthers on Thursday night and took full advantage of it. (FHN)
— The final Panthers game we may see for some time was not the prettiest — but it could have been worse. (FHN)
AROUND THE NHL
The Boston Bruins had their game against Montreal postponed on Friday and have nine players in Covid protocol (as of this writing)
The Bruins also had their three remaining games before Christmas postponed. (Boston Hockey Now)
— The Penguins are still playing — and have won seven consecutive games after winning in Jersey on Sunday. (PittsburghHockeyNow)
— The Islanders placed two more players into Covid protocol. (NYI Hockey Now)
— The Blue Jackets put three players into the protocol and canceled Sunday’s practice. They could be on the ice this morning. (Columbus Dispatch)
— The Capitals are playing, but they are feeling it was well. (Washington Hockey Now)
— Steve Yzerman said the Red Wings want to keep on playing. (Detroit Hockey Now)
— But they will not. (DHN)
— Former Florida forward Brett Connolly has been suspended four games. (TSN)
— Winnipeg captain Blake Wheeler is on LTIR. (TSN)
— Kris Letang on Covid: “This thing is not going anywhere.” (PHN)