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NHL COVID Protocol Absences Skyrocket, Incl. 17 Players From Devils

The NHL list of COVID-related absences has gone way up, including 17 players from the New Jersey Devils.

The list of COVID protocol related absences is starting to get longer and longer and is now at the point that concern is starting to grow that the NHL could have a sizeable problem on their hands. Approximately 90 different players have appeared on the list during the first three weeks of the season and the New Jersey Devils along have 17 players on the list just today.

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Each day, the NHL publicly releases the list of players that are unavailable to their respective teams and on Wednesday, that list was incredibly long. This comes after news that all Buffalo Sabres games would be postponed through February 8. That includes another game against the New York Islanders on Thursday and two against the Boston Bruins (Saturday and Monday).

Below is the full list:

  • Buffalo – Taylor Hall, Rasmus Ristolainen, Brandon Montour*, Tobias Rieder*
  • Chicago – Adam Boqvist, Ryan Carpenter, Lucas Wallmark
  • Colorado – Tyson Jost*Dallas – Andrej Sekera
  • Detroit –Filip Zadina
  • Los Angeles – Andreas Athanasiou, Blake Lizotte
  • Minnesota – Marcus Foligno, Nick Bjugstad*, Nick Bonino*, Joel Eriksson Ek*, Marcus Johansson*, Jared Spurgeon*
  • New Jersey – Connor Carrick, Aaron Dell, Kyle Palmieri, Sami Vatanen, Travis Zajac, Andreas Johnsson, Janne Kuokkanen, Michael McLeod, Pavel Zacha, Jack Hughes, Damon Severson, Ty Smith, Matt Tennyson, Jesper Bratt, Nathan Bastian*, Nikita Gusev*, Yegor Sharangovich*
  • Pittsburgh – John Marino*
  • Vegas – Alex Pietrangelo
  • Washington – Evgeny Kuznetsov, Ilya Samsonov
  • Winnipeg – Pierre-Luc Dubois
NHL COVID-19 Tests
NHL COVID-19 Tests

This, of course, does not mean that every player on the list has tested positive for the virus, only that they have been confirmed as a close contact to another positive person. 

Just the Beginning for the NHL?

Michael Russo of the Athletic also reported the Minnesota Wild’s season could be on hold for 4-5 games as roughly half-dozen players made it onto the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list. Hope was this would be isolated to just Marcus Foligno, but that wasn’t the case.

The question will now be if the NHL should move towards rapid testing. It’s much more expensive for the league to go that route but when TSN’s Bob McKenzie was asked, “Is rapid testing cost prohibitive?” his answer was, “Can you afford not to do it?”

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