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Morning Flurries: Uncertainty is certain

The NHL is going to have to move precariously moving forward

Toronto Maple Leafs v Colorado Avalanche Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images

The Colorado Avalanche are now just a few days into their shutdown due to several positive COVID-19 tests. After their last game on Thursday against the Nashville Predators, the team has travelled home and gone into quarantine. While we don’t know the exact number outside of at least five players (Cale Makar, Devon Toews, Darcy Kuemper, Andre Burakovsky, J.T. Compher) there have been several more positive tests since then.

The team will announce who is affected by this when the team returns to play against the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday, December 27th. This isn’t the first time the Avs will return from a COVID outbreak against the Knights, as they were the first opponent for the Avs after their first COVID break back in February 2021.

However, the Avs are not the only team shut down by COVID right now. The list of teams include the Avs, Nashville Predators, Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames and Florida Panthers. The Toronto Maple Leafs, Columbus Blue Jackets and Vancouver Canucks are dealing with a handful of positive tests as well but not officially shut down yet.

Yesterday the league announced new restrictions for the teams. There had already been 27 games postponed and at least 12 more have been postponed due to the ever-changing border status between the United States and Canada. Because of the increase of cases, the NHL announced several postponements of games between borders until after the Christmas break.

Not only this, but now the involvement of NHL players in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing is being evaluated. With the possibility of a five-week quarantine for players in China if they came up with a positive test, players had been questioning their choice to go to the games or not.

Now with the several positive tests, handfuls of postponements and scheduling nightmare for the league there are calls to skip the Olympics and reschedule games during the originally planned three week break. It’s looking very likely the NHL will skip the Olympics once again due to COVID but an official announcement will come in a few days.

The few games that were played last night had some sort of influence on the Avs. There was a division matchup featuring the St. Louis Blues visiting the Winnipeg Jets, with the home team coming out on top 4-2. Nikolaj Ehlers recorded one goal (with Paul Stastny’s 500th assist) and three assists in their win to close the gap to the Avs in the standings.

Robin Lehner returned to Long Island and faced the New York Islanders in a winning result, making 29 saves en route to a big shootout win 4-3. Shea Theodore made it possible with a late equalizer with under a minute to go with a big blast from the point.

As Avs fans know, Vegas is a tough team to play and always been a threat. Despite starting the season slowly, a five-game win streak they’re currently on has sent them level 40 points with the Anaheim Ducks. They hold the tiebreaker for first in the Pacific and look to continue their form heading into the Christmas break.

They have the anticipation of the new man Jack Eichel joining their team eventually, who will certainly lift that team to a level and success they know all too well, as do Avs fans.