The NHL has shut down all cross-border games ahead of Christmas after pretty much all the teams in Canada had significant outbreaks. The Lightning, who are one of a dozen teams in the NHL without cases, have only had to miss their weekend game this past week.
The hard truth about COVID is that people can pass it along without feeling symptoms, and that it can still cause severe symptoms or death in demographics that make up coaches, team staff, and families. The NHL is not a league that can pretend to ignore the virus (like football is doing right now) because they have Canadian teams and hopes of going to the Olympics, a tournament that has a hard line on zero COVID.
As of right now, Calgary, Nashville, Boston, Detroit, and Toronto are all shut down until after the Christmas break as they have significant outbreaks.
And when it comes to Olympic participation, things are looking less and less likely every day. Alex Ovechkin and a couple other Russians have said they’ll go no matter what. I’m curious to see what happens on that front. If they still choose to go and if they’ll even be allowed to go legally.
Nothing official yet, but a real sense NHL players aren’t headed to the Olympics. Given all the NHL game postponements this past week, no surprise if that’s the final direction.— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) December 20, 2021
Despite all the apparent doom and gloom, the NHL is still running, with the Lightning set to play two games before the Christmas break. First the Bolts will visit the Golden Knights on Tuesday, and then the Coyotes on Thursday before getting the weekend off. [Raw Charge]
“So far the schedule adjustments have only affected one Lightning game, last night’s game in Colorado. They are still on track to head out to play Vegas and Arizona later this week. The league is pretty much taking things on a case-by-case, day-by-day basis so stay tuned for further development.”
Here’s a blog from Elliotte Friedman on the topic.
Reax tonight to cross-border shutdown; triggers "material" damage to schedule that allows NHL to skip Olympics https://t.co/uJ0Boylxlj— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) December 20, 2021
Former Bolt Brett Connolly was suspended four games for his blindside, targeted hit on Tanner Kero.
Chicago’s Brett Connolly has been suspended for four games for Interference on Dallas’ Tanner Kero. https://t.co/6g23ix1zDh— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) December 20, 2021