The NHL has officially postponed several games, shutting down the Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche, and Florida Panthers through the holiday break. The following games will need to be rescheduled:
- Calgary: Dec 21 vs Anaheim, Dec 23 vs Seattle
- Colorado: Dec 18 vs Tampa Bay, Dec 20 @ Detroit, Dec 22 @ Buffalo, Dec 23 @ Boston
- Florida: Dec 18 @ Minnesota, Dec 21 @ Chicago, Dec 23 vs Nashville
The Panthers have been ravaged by COVID recently, placing eight players in the protocol this week. Aaron Ekblad, Frank Vatrano, Sam Bennett, Radko Gudas, Ryan Lomberg, Brandon Montour, and Carter Verhaeghe are all unavailable for the club, while a postponement could suggest even further poor results in testing today. It would be the second time in just a few days that the Wild have a game postponed due to their opponent’s situation, after missing Tuesday’s match against the Carolina Hurricanes.
For Colorado, this was a predictable outcome after they were stripped of several key players just before game time last night. Darcy Kuemper and Cale Makar were both ruled out despite expecting to play only hours after Andre Burakovsky and J.T. Compher were added to the protocol. That forced the Avalanche to play shorthanded and with an emergency backup goaltender though according to multiple reports including Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, Colorado was actually given the option to not play the game. The Avalanche ended up losing the game by a 5-2 margin, and it now looks like they’ll be given a few days to get their outbreak under control.
Calgary has basically the entire organization in the protocol, with just four active players outside of it after Mikael Backlund entered this morning. The team had already seen games on Dec 13, 14, 16 and 18 postponed.
Despite these postponements, Greg Wyshynski of ESPN reports that there is still not a strong push to pause the season entirely. The league instituted some protocol changes recently and, according to Wyshynski, wants to give them “some runway.”