Last September, the NHL, the NHLPA and the IIHF finally reached a deal that allows the NHL players to participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. The deal, however, had several conditions and one of them was the NHL’s right to withdrawn from the participation until January 10, if the COVID-19 situation got worse.
The latest NHL news has added some concerns about the NHL’s possible participation in the Olympics. Just yesterday it was announced that the league postponed the New York Islanders’ games at least through Tuesday. Since last week the Isles had several key players unavailable due to COVID-19 protocols, including their captain Anders Lee and top defenceman Ryan Pelech. According to the press release, the NHL decided to postpone their games due to “the possibility of additional cases due to spread“.
The Islanders are not the first team whose games were postponed due to COVID-19 protocol within the team. Earlier in November, three of the Ottawa Senators’ games were postponed as a result of 10 players entering COVID-19 protocols. Drake Batherson, who was one of those players, remains in COVID-19 protocol and is expected to return on December 1. Currently several players from other teams are also unavailable due to COVID-19, including the Arizona Coyotes’ Carter Hutton, the Carolina Hurricanes’ Ethan Bear and the Detroit Red Wings’ Danny Dekeyser.
The newly discovered Omikron variant of COVID-19 in South Africa is also adding some concerns. Recently the first cases were confirmed in Australia and Czech Republic. The new strain is reportedly more transmittable and has already outcompeted other variants in South Africa in a short period of time.
As of now, the NHL is planning to participate in both the Winter Olympics and the All-Star game, which is scheduled for February 5 in Vegas right before the start of the the Winter Olympics. The players expected to play in Beijing will head to China on charter flights. The league is also developing special protocols for players at the All Star game in Vegas.
Here’s what I’m hearing about NHL All Star & Olympic participation (a thread)— Emily Kaplan (@emilymkaplan) November 27, 2021
NHL planning for ASG in Vegas, business as usual. Gary Bettman never wanted players to go to Olympics, but made a promise w/ them & intends to see it through. Plan is for charter from Vegas to Beijing
In case of potential withdrawn, Hockey Canada has already arranged a “shadow team“ to replace the NHL players if necessary. Some other hockey federations, including the Russian Ice Hockey Federation, are also working on this possibility.
Curently several Tampa Bay Lightning players have been confirmed to play in the Winter Olympics: Nikita Kucherov, Andrei Vasilevskiy (Russia), Victor Hedman (Sweden), Ondrej Palat (Czech Republic), and Erik Cernak (Slovakia). Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point, Ryan McDonagh and Jan Rutta are amongst potential candidates.
The Syracuse Crunch have suffered a loss by the Rochester Americans. Simon Ryfors and Gabriel Dumont scored for Syracuse.
The Orlando Solar Bears have earned a shootout win against the Norfolk Admirals.
Langan scores in round three of the shootout, and ☠️ does the rest... pic.twitter.com/fsvsqTRMBF— Orlando Solar Bears (@OrlandoHockey) November 28, 2021
The full results of previous gameday.
The @SeattleKraken put an end to the Panthers' home winning streak, while Mikko Rantanen's hat trick helped the @Avalanche claim a fifth straight home victory.#NHLStats: https://t.co/ugdFgHBNDg pic.twitter.com/kW6VJWRzT9— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) November 28, 2021
The Ottawa Senators’ goaltender Matt Murray was placed on waivers and the Senators have claimed Adam Gaudette off the waivers.
Matt Murray placed on waivers and #Sens claim Adam Gaudette from Chicago.— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) November 27, 2021
The St. Louis Blues placed forward James Neal on LTIR.
Artemi Panarin was fined $5,000 for throwing a glove at Brad Marchand.
NY Rangers’ Artemi Panarin has been fined $5,000, the maximum allowable under the CBA, for Unsportsmanlike Conduct during yesterday’s game with the Boston Bruins.— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) November 27, 2021
The Montreal Canadiens are planning some changes in their head office.
Hearing that Scott Mellanby had extensive talks with Habs owner Geoff Molson at first about becoming GM, then that changed to perhaps becoming president of hockey operations. But he was told yesterday he was out of the running. So he resigned today.— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) November 28, 2021