The Bruins are one of six NHL teams shut down because of COVID issues. The Red Wings were the latest added to the list Sunday and their game Thursday at Minnesota was postponed, bringing the total to 40 games affected. The Bruins and Predators were paused Saturday, and last previously outbreaks forced the league to pause the Flames, Avalanche and Panthers.
In the joint statement, the NHL and NHLPA said they will continue to evaluate the league’s participation in the Beijing Olympics in February. The league has until Jan. 10 to opt out of the Winter Games without financial penalty, but it retains the right to cancel its plans up until players are scheduled to travel to Beijing. The NHL and NHLPA said it will announce a final decision in the coming days.
The Winnipeg Jets were the only Canadian team playing Sunday — hosting and beating St. Louis, 4-2 — after three games involving Canadian teams already were postponed.
“I think the big thing is when you win a hockey game you want to play the next day,” Jets interim coach Dave Lowry said. “This will take us out of it for a couple days. But what it will allow us to do is get back and work on some details in our game that we hope to continue to improve on.”
Jets center Mark Scheifele said the team learned of the postponements moments after the game.
“You never know right now,” he said. “You could see it coming kind of, we weren’t really sure, so obviously we know now and waiting to see what all transpires. We’ll keep rolling with the punches.”
Here is the complete NHL/NHLPA statement:
i) We will continue to play the 2021-22 regular-season schedule. Although there has been a recent increase in positive COVID test results among Players, coaches and hockey staff, there have been a low number of positive cases that have resulted in concerning symptoms or serious illness. Therefore, the NHLPA’s and NHL’s medical experts have determined that, with virtually all Players and Club hockey staff fully vaccinated, the need to temporarily shut down individual teams should continue to be made on a case-by-case basis. The effects of recently introduced enhanced prevention and detection measures will be evaluated daily. The NHL and NHLPA, along with their medical experts, will be monitoring not only the number and pattern of positive COVID results, but also the depth of Club line-ups so as to ensure both the health and safety of the Players and the integrity of League competition.
ii) Due to the concern about cross-border travel and, given the fluid nature of federal travel restrictions, effective on Monday, all games involving a Canadian-based team playing a U.S.-based team from Monday, Dec. 20 through the start of the Holiday break on Dec. 23, will be postponed and rescheduled.
iii) Given the disruption to the NHL’s regular-season schedule caused by recent COVID-related events – 27 games had been postponed as of Saturday and at least 12 more will be postponed through Dec. 23 – and the continued uncertainty caused by the ongoing COVID pandemic, 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.
With the number one priority of maintaining the health and safety of our NHL community, and amid changing and unpredictable conditions, we are determined to remain flexible and adaptable both in terms of scheduling and in adjusting Protocols as necessary.
Here are the US-Canada games that were postponed as a part of Sunday’s announcement:
Monday: Montreal at New York Islanders; Anaheim at Edmonton;
Tuesday: St. Louis at Ottawa; Vancouver at San Jose;
Wednesday: Montreal at New York Rangers; Winnipeg at Dallas; Edmonton at Los Angeles;
Thursday: St. Louis at Toronto; Carolina at Ottawa; Montreal at New Jersey; Anaheim at Vancouver; Edmonton at San Jose.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.