VANCOUVER – The Toronto Maple Leafs have added one other 5 folks to the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol, together with head coach Sheldon Keefe.
Defencemen TJ Brodie and Travis Dermott, goalie Jack Campbell and assistant coach Spencer Carbery had been additionally positioned on the protocol listing Saturday because the league postponed video games amid a skyrocketing variety of circumstances.
Toronto was set to face the Canucks in Vancouver on Saturday, however the NHL postponed the sport about 5 hours earlier than puck drop. Sunday video games between the Canucks and Arizona Coyotes and the Leafs and Seattle Kraken have additionally been pushed again indefinitely.
The Leafs positioned John Tavares, Alex Kerfoot, Jason Spezza and Wayne Simmonds on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol listing on Friday, and the crew cancelled follow as a precaution.
Leafs basic supervisor Kyle Dubas mentioned two of the 4 gamers are asymptomatic, whereas one had delicate signs which have dissipated and one other has a fever, chills and physique aches.
Dubas mentioned he hoped the NHL wouldn’t must hit pause on the season because of the fast unfold of COVID.
“I certain hope we don’t must pause or delay,” he informed reporters Saturday. “But when it’s in the perfect curiosity of the well being and security of the gamers and the followers and the general public on the whole, I’m certain the league will make the appropriate resolution.”
The Leafs deliberate to ship anybody who examined adverse again to Toronto on a constitution flight Saturday afternoon. The crew can also be choices for getting gamers who examined optimistic again house, Dubas mentioned.
“We’re making an attempt to do all the things we will to get everybody with their households for the vacations,” he mentioned.
The Toronto Marlies, Toronto’s American Hockey League affiliate, have additionally been hit arduous by COVID. Dubas mentioned 10 gamers have examined optimistic for the virus and all gamers and employees are isolating for 10 days.
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Vancouver has seven folks on the NHL protocol listing, together with defencemen Tyler Myers, Brad Hunt, Tucker Poolman and Luke Schenn, forwards Tyler Motte and Juho Lammikko, and assistant coach Jason King.
Canucks president and interim GM Jim Rutherford mentioned some within the group have skilled “very delicate” signs and the crew was awaiting the outcomes of extra checks on Saturday.
“We’ll hold our fingers crossed that there aren’t any extra (positives),” he mentioned.
Rutherford mentioned he wasn’t “completely stunned” to listen to Saturday’s sport was postponed, however was disillusioned, partially as a result of the Canucks (14-15-2) are in nice type, using a six-game win streak underneath new head coach Bruce Boudreau.
“From a crew viewpoint, this was going to be a very good check for us,” he mentioned. “We’re disillusioned, however security comes first, the security of the gamers, the security of the followers. And I feel this was the appropriate resolution.”
The Leafs (20-8-2) haven’t performed since Tuesday once they beat the Oilers 5-1 in Edmonton.
The Oilers added right-winger Jesse Puljuarvi to COVID protocol on Saturday, hours earlier than a scheduled matchup with the Kraken in Seattle.
Montreal Canadiens left-winger Arrturi Lehkonen was additionally positioned on the listing.
The NHL paused Boston Bruins’ and Nashville Predators’ seasons by way of at the least Dec. 26 on Saturday, citing “concern for a rising variety of optimistic circumstances in addition to the potential for continued COVID unfold within the coming days.”
Boston has seven gamers and two employees in COVID protocol, whereas Nashville has eight gamers and 7 staff on the listing.
The NHL mentioned in a press release that the choice to postpone video games was made by medical teams with the groups, the league and the NHL Gamers’ Affiliation.
The league mentioned it’s within the means of reviewing and revising its regular-season schedule.
5 of the video games initially set for Saturday have now been pushed, together with Florida at Minnesota, Boston at Montreal, Tampa Bay at Colorado and Columbus at Calgary.
The Calgary Flames — who’ve 19 gamers and 13 staff in isolation — noticed their season paused earlier this week. The Colorado Avalanche and Florida Panthers adopted swimsuit because the virus swept by way of their groups.
The NHL and NHLPA introduced earlier on Saturday enhanced protocols aimed toward curbing the unfold of the virus amid the emergence of the omicron variant.
The brand new measures embody each day testing, elevated use of masks in crew services and whereas travelling, bodily distancing and prohibitions on gamers eating out whereas on the highway.
The league and the gamers’ union will re-evaluate the improved protocols by Jan. 7.
This report by The Canadian Press was first revealed Dec. 18, 2021.
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