After a wild, tumultuous game last night against the Nashville Predators that probably should not have been played, the Avs now have the opportunity to get healthy both from injuries and COVID cases.
Yesterday, Andre Burakovsky and J.T. Compher were added to COVID protocol list just a couple of days after Devon Toews was added. Just minutes before the game, Darcy Kuemper and Cale Makar joined the list as well.
The scary situation from last night as well is that Makar took warm-ups with the Avs on the ice in Nashville. Certainly everyone then came in contact with the virus via one another because of Makar’s presence in the locker room and on the ice for the game.
Makar took warm ups with the team and just got pulled before the game even began. That means certainly everyone has come in contact with COVID if they hadn’t already. I can’t believe I’m watching them play this game tonight. #GoAvsGo— Mile High Hockey (@MileHighHockey) December 17, 2021
Both teams last night played very short-handed and it was just an ugly affair from the get-go resulting in a 5-2 loss. Another oddity was Jack Johnson receiving a second negative test midway through the first period. After his second negative test, he put on his equipment and joined the team on the bench in an odd turn of events.
With the uncertainty of last night’s game up in the air due to the COVID outbreak rampaging through the team just minutes before, there was a vote according to Elliotte Friedman on whether or not the team wanted to play the game last night. They voted to continue anyways, and now face the consequences of their actions. However, Mikko Rantanen told the press in the postgame availability that there was no formal vote and that rather Jared Bednar simply asked what everyone wanted to do.
According to Elliotte Friedman, the Avs were given the choice to play tonight or not due to the number of positive tests. They chose to do so…#GoAvsGo— Mile High Hockey (@MileHighHockey) December 17, 2021
Avs alternate captain Mikko Rantanen: "We came to play a hockey game." He said they had enough players to play and there was no formal team vote on whether or not to play.— Peter Baugh (@Peter_Baugh) December 17, 2021
"We had a full lineup when we left Denver and then guys were dropping today. ... No excuses."
Jared Bednar said there was an option not to play, but everyone was prepared to play.— Peter Baugh (@Peter_Baugh) December 17, 2021
"I just went to our players and said 'hey, what do you guys want to do?'"
This is now the third time the Avs have been shut down due to COVID in the team dating back to last season. Because of the lack of a taxi squad this year, no cap relief for players out with COVID and easing of restrictions, the NHL is seeing cases flare up across the league. Not only is this an issue in the NHL, but the new Omicron variant has been identified widely across the sports world.
This all comes as the NHL deciphers what to with new protocols, possible vaccine booster recommendations, participation in the Olympics, etc. It will be very telling to see where the NHL goes from here when it comes to another possible closure between the US/Canada, the Winter Olympics and the risks that come with that and another scheduling nightmare on their hands.
Despite being the Avs being 100% vaccinated, the world is still living and adapting in this now almost two year worldwide pandemic. While we can discuss the validity of vaccines, this is not the time or place for that. We can simply hope that all the players, staff and their families are safe and continue to be healthy or get healthier for this extended holiday break.
We will be without Avs hockey until then. Stay safe everyone, treat one another well, wear a mask, get vaccinated if you can, and we’ll see you all when the Avs return away to the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday, December 27th at 8:00 p.m. MT.