January 15: The Stars will begin their season on January 22 against the Nashville Predators. Games scheduled for January 14, 15, 17, and 19 have been rescheduled for later in the season, as the NHL details in today’s release. Several other games have been rescheduled as well, though they’re much further down the road.
The changes mean that Florida and Tampa Bay, the two opponents that were supposed to take on the Stars to start the season, will have substantial breaks. Tampa Bay for instance plays tonight and then will not play again until next Thursday, while the Panthers are still waiting until Sunday to start their year. The Stars will now play a 56-game schedule in just 108 days.
January 8: The Dallas Stars will not start the season on time. The team has released the following statement, explaining the sudden cancelation of practice today:
The National Hockey League announced today that six Dallas Stars players and two staff members have recently confirmed positive tests for the COVID-19 virus. Those individuals are self-isolating and following CDC and league protocols. As a result of the positive tests, and as an appropriate precaution, the team’s training facilities have been closed, effective immediately, and will remain closed for several days while further daily testing and contact tracing is conducted. The league is in the process of reviewing and revising the Stars’ regular season schedule with the expectation that the team will not open its 2020-21 season earlier than Tuesday, January 19.
The Stars organization has, and will continue to follow, all recommended guidelines aimed at protecting the health and safety of its players, staff and community at large as set by the NHL, local, state and national agencies.
The Stars were set to open the season against the Florida Panthers on January 14, a game that will obviously have to be postponed. Games on January 15 and 17 are also in jeopardy as well. The league did not release the names of the players that have tested positive.
If the other major professional sports are any indication, this is the first of many outbreaks this season. The league and teams will need to be flexible and adapt to changing schedules and protocols on a near-daily basis, leaving roster depth as arguably the most important thing in the NHL this year. It’s hard to imagine that the Stars will have their full contingent of players even by January 19, though no specifics have been released in regards to that.