Multiple NHL teams are now experiencing what the Dallas Stars did at the start of the season.
The Colorado Avalanche, Minnesota Wild, Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils, and Vegas Golden Knights join the Stars with games postponed due to multiple players on the “COVID Protocol List.”
The situation is deteriorating so much that the league implemented new protocols such as removing the glass behind the benches to increase airflow.
It’s now fair to say that there is a significant possibility that the NHL can pull the plug on the season. If that happens, another bubble playoffs could be coming this way.
The Stars were the first team to have games postponed due to an outbreak, missing the first 4; now, there are dozens of games postponed.
The NHL might delay the playoffs start date to play these postponed games if they get tacked on to the end of the season. More postponements are likely to come if additional players start testing positive.
The new protocols hopefully limit exposure to the disease. All teams must now remove the glass behind the players’ bench to increase airflow. Non-essential meetings will be digital due to time restrictions put on before arriving at a game. Players and coaches can arrive at each respective arena no earlier than 1-hour and 45-minutes before puck drop. Injury treatments are exempt from this reduction. Teams must also create more locker room space to account for additional social distancing. These implementations will hopefully reduce the spread of this disease.
If the situation gets any worse, they could shut the league down like they did last season.
Each game is in jeopardy, and the Stars have 8 consecutive home games starting on Super Bowl Sunday. Although there are no talks of any season cancellations, anything can happen with such a volatile climate. The COVID-19 situation is getting out of hand in the NHL, with over 100 players now having been on the list.
Enjoy hockey while you can because it could go away at any moment. If more teams have games postponed because of players contracting COVID-19, there will be an unfortunate conversation about shutting it all down. They could go back to the bubble format with total isolation, but that is only viable for the playoffs. The situation seems grim for now, but the best thing to do is to take it one day at a time.
Focus on one game, and for Stars fans, the next game will be against the rival Chicago Blackhawks on Super Bowl Sunday.
Hopefully, this situation gets better because the Stars are doing well after a 5-2-1 start to the season.
Featured Image: Dallas Stars