May 25: The list is empty again today. Moving forward we will only publish it if a player is added to the protocol.
May 24: The long-awaited day has finally arrived. When the NHL released it’s COVID Protocol Related Absences list on Monday evening, it contained no names. It is the first time since the list originally debuted at the start of the regular season that the contents has been empty. Granted, the list now only includes the 14 active playoff teams as opposed to all 31 clubs, but it still marks a major achievement in the league’s battle against the Coronavirus.
Of course, the final step toward a league-wide clean bill of health actually came with the elimination of the St. Louis Blues on Sunday. When the Colorado Avalanche completed their sweep of the Blues, they also ended the seasons of the only two players on the latest CPRA list: David Perron and Nathan Walker. In fact, every player who has appeared on the list since the playoffs began on March 15 has now been eliminated – Perron, Walker, and Blues teammate Jake Walman and Washington Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov, whose team was bounced by the Boston Bruins on Sunday as well.
With the NHL already feeling confident enough in its COVID-19 status as to allow relaxed policies to vaccinated teams, the hope is that this empty CPRA list becomes the norm and not the exception. With postseason results obviously carrying much more weight than regular season results, the league does not want to see any of their playoff series tainted by COVID results. The Blues’ absences, particularly Perron’s, were certainly felt, but as major underdogs against Colorado anyhow, the league escaped without much controversy. They hope that can continue throughout the postseason and that the CPRA list becomes a permanent thing of the past moving forward into next season.