The Boston Bruins won’t play until Dec. 27 but the NHL and NHLPA have decided that the show must go on.
In an announcement late Sunday afternoon, the NHL and NHLPA stated that they will still postpone games on a case-by-case basis and that all cross-border games (12 games total), until the holiday break begins on Dec. 23 are postponed.
The Boston Bruins already had their remaining games before the break postponed on Saturday and won’t play again until December 27. As of now, they’re scheduled to host the Pittsburgh Penguins that day.
The league and PA also announced that they are engaged in ongoing discussions about NHLers participating in the upcoming February Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Note: Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet tweeted that it was likely the NHL and NHLPA will announce this week that they are not going to Beijing.
Link of NHL/NHLPA joint statements. Unfortunately, Olympics without NHL players appears to be reality, although formal announcement not for a few days https://t.co/WnIzedTtzN
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) December 19, 2021
Here is the full press release from earlier:
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. Those additional postponements include:
Monday, Dec. 20:
Montreal @ NY Islanders; Anaheim @ Edmonton
Tuesday, Dec. 21:
St. Louis @ Ottawa; Vancouver @ San Jose
Wednesday, Dec. 22:
Montreal @ NY Rangers; Winnipeg @ Dallas; Edmonton @ Los Angeles
Thursday, Dec. 23:
St. Louis @ Toronto; Carolina @ Ottawa; Montreal @ New Jersey; Anaheim @ Vancouver;
Edmonton @ San Jose
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.
As mentioned above, after postponing their Saturday night game against the Canadiens in Montreal on Friday morning, the NHL Saturday, announced that the three remaining Boston Bruins games (Sunday at Ottawa Senators, Tuesday vs Carolina, and Thursday against the Colorado Avalanche), were postponed.
The team also announced that two more players, Taylor Hall and Curtis Lazar were placed in COVID Protocol. That brings the team total to nine players. (BHN)
Prior to the announcement that the season will roll on, we reported here that teams and players were going wary of playing in empty arenas, as the Habs and Philadelphia Flyers did Thursday night, and would rather postpone so that they could still get the game revenue and HRR down the road. That could still happen but one thing is for sure, the NHL won’t play in empty arenas in the United States no matter what. (BHN)
Thankfully, as of now, all Boston Bruins players in COVID Protocol have only experienced mostly mild symptoms. (BHN)
National Hockey Now
The New York Islanders placed forward Matt Martin and defenseman Robin Salo into COVID protocol on Sunday. (NYI Hockey Now)
The Washington Capitals are feeling the COVID wrath and the injury bug. Forwards T.J. Oshie, Nicklas Backstrom, and Evgeny Kuznetsov remained in COVID protocol Sunday, and forwards Tom Wilson was injured but a game-time decision for the Capitals’ game against the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday night. (Washington Hockey Now)
Our colleague Colby Guy over at Florida Hockey Now does not believe that NHLers should still go to compete in the Olympics. (Florida Hockey Now)
Stevie Y was one of my favorite players growing up but I wholeheartedly disagree with him here just based on scientific facts. I know a portion of our audience doesn’t care about science unless it comes from a GOP politician or YouTube but seriously, letting players with COVID play in games is well, just plain DUMB! (Detroit Hockey Now)
Speaking of the Red Wings, on Sunday, they became the latest team to shut down due to a COVID outbreak. (Detroit Hockey Now)
Well done by the New York Islanders paying tribute to former Isles and current Vegas Hockey Now goalie Robin Lehner. (Vegas Hockey Now)
San Jose Sharks rookie forward Jasper Weatherby sat down with colleague Sheng Peng and got a great story on how Weatherby was chirped by Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand. (San Jose Hockey Now)
Good friend Rob Simpson shared an excerpt from his book ‘No Heavy Lifting’ that chronicled him and former Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. (Vancouver Hockey Now)
Thanks to COVID shutting down the Calgary Flames, former Flames captain and now current Seattle Kraken captain Mark Giordano was unable to play his first regular season game back in the Saddledome. (Calgary Hockey Now)
Due to COVID concerns, Hockey Canada is considering withdrawing from the Spengler Cup. (TSN)
Make no mistake, my stomach was turning when I saw Dallas Stars forward Tanner Kero lying motionless on the ice after this devastating hit from former Boston Bruins and current Chicago Blackhawks forward Brett Connolly, but why is Connolly facing a suspension here? IMHO, he does his best to let up but the impact was unavoidable. The head was not the primary point of contact and it’s just a freak accident. (NHL)
Prayers for Tanner Kero. Not good. pic.twitter.com/zYnhCkxSmD
— Nick Alberga (@thegoldenmuzzy) December 19, 2021
Kero’s teammate Joe Pavelski getting emotional for his injured teammate because he suffered a traumatic injury from a hit himself is heart-wrenching.
An emotional Joe Pavelski speaking on the Tanner Kero incident. Gave him flashbacks of his scary injury in the 2019 Playoffs. pic.twitter.com/Fr64IPUSaK
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) December 19, 2021
I absolutely loved New Jersey Devils defenseman Mason Geertsen chirping Tyler Bertuzzi for not getting vaccinated. Wonder how Bertuzzi’s teammates liked that too considering the COVID mess we’re in?
“Go get vaccinated, go get vaccinated.” – Mason Geertsen’s chirps to Tyler Bertuzzi tonight 💀 pic.twitter.com/IuHeo2THPy
— Josh (@joshlangerr) December 19, 2021
Finally, we’re bringing back Murph’s Music Pick Of The Day when I do links this week and it’s going to be all Christmas-themed. Here’s one of my favorites: