Because six Dallas Stars players and two staff members have recently confirmed positive tests for COVID-19, the NHL has decided to reschedule the affected Stars games so that the Stars can play those games but likely also ice a lineup that keeps them competitive. The league made the announcement Friday.
The NHL announced that all affected players are isolating and the league is reviewing the team’s schedule with the expectation that the club will not open its 2020-21 season earlier than Tuesday, January 19. The Stars cancelled practice earlier on Friday, and no names have been released.
The Stars were supposed to open their season schedule against the Florida starting Thursday. They were then supposed to take on the defending Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning in their fourth game of the season on Jan. 19. It would have been a rematch of the 2019-20 Finals.
The Stars are the second team on Friday that were forced to cancel practice. The Columbus Blue Jackets announced that their second on-ice session was being canceled as 17 players were held off the ice due to caution related to the Covid-19 safety protocols.
A Wake-Up Call for the NHL
It’s too early to say why these players were being held out and what cause the rash of both confirmed and potential positive tests, but if these players aren’t taking their isolation seriously, they need to wake up. The season is days away and continued instances like this could threaten the season.
TSN’s Pierre LeBrun wrote after the news was released by both teams, that the NHL wants to remain `nimble.’ He added, “My guess is the schedule is going to change many times for several teams throughout the season in all likelihood because of positive tests. Get used to this.”
Not playing in a bubble means these teams and the players can’t be mingling with anyone not in their own cohorts. Should they, all it takes is a run of tests like we’ve seen today for an entire team to be essentially unavailable to compete.
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