Amid concerns over the increased number of players going into the league’s COVID protocol, the NHL/NHLPA have agreed to implement a league-wide pause in the season beginning Wednesday through Christmas Day, per Elliotte Friedman.
Hearing NHL/NHLPA will agree to pause season Wednesday through Christmas Day. Players will return to team facilities on 26th — one day earlier than usual — so that testing can be resumed.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) December 21, 2021
The LA Kings‘ game against the Edmonton Oilers was already postponed, but now Thursday’s game against the Vegas Golden Knights will also be rescheduled to a later day. Per Friedman, players can return to their team facilities on December 26, where testing will resume.
As for the Kings, and assuming no further setbacks, their next game will be in Arizona on Monday.
Friedman also notes that the league is adding further restrictions:
According to memo sent to teams/players, schedule resumes Monday, Dec. 27. Also: “Upon return from the holiday break to team facilities, no individual in the team’s travelling party shall enter (other than for testing purposes) until they have a negative test result.”
Given the skyrocketing numbers, the NHL sending its players to the Olympics seems unlikely at this point. The scheduled three-week break in the season will be used to make up these postponed games.
It’ll be interesting to see if players continue their parade into COVID protocol when the schedule resumes next week. The NFL recently revised its approach to “targeted” testing, where fully vaccinated players who aren’t experiencing symptoms will not be tested. Those who remain unvaccinated will still be subject to daily testing.
The NHL may need to consider something similar.
More to come…