As was reported yesterday morning, there had been swirling rumors about the NHL pulling out of the Olympics. It was said to be “highly unlikely” the NHL would send players to Beijing due to COVID. While an announcement hasn’t been made, it looks all but official.
Sources confirm the February break in the #NHL schedule, originally for the Olympics, will now be used to play make up games for all games taken off the board.— Andy Strickland (@andystrickland) December 21, 2021
This will allow the league to use the three weeks in February to make up games that have been postponed. While 11 teams have been shut down due to COVID outbreaks in the team, the entire league has now finally stepped in to an extent.
Sources tell @DailyFaceoff: #NHL, #NHLPA have agreed to suspend all operations for Dec. 22-25 and will re-open team facilities on Dec. 26 no earlier than 2pm local time. No practice, no testing during those days.— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) December 21, 2021
Tuesday’s 2 remaining games will be played - pending test results.
With the amount of players on the COVID Protocol list, the number of teams impacted and border issues, there was simply no choice. The NHL is the first sports league to shut down operations after resuming from the original March 2020 lockdown because of the new Omicron variant.
While the league already had a three-day break due to the upcoming holiday, this extension of an additional two days will hopefully allow for less contact between players and possible exposure to the virus. It at least gives the NHL a chance to get their footing back and play a few games when everyone returns December 27th.
This includes the Colorado Avalanche, who of course visit the Vegas Golden Knights that night. While there’s no new Avs news, this game now has more of a chance being played since Vegas will have had no games for nearly a week. They still have a scheduled game tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The only game from last night was a wild one, literally as the Minnesota Wild visited the Dallas Stars in an 11-goal game. With it being the only game occurring last night, there were some unique comments that came with it.
Onto the game that had division implications for both sides and the Avs, Dallas found themselves on top in a 7-4 win. There were seven goal scorers for the Stars, including Joe Pavelski who scored the first goal of the night early on a rebound, something the Avs are too familiar with the last time they were in Dallas.
The Wild were desperate to get back into the game and pulled Cam Talbot just past halfway through the third period. As Avs fans know, former head coach Patrick Roy had a tendency to pull goalies early on. The Wild made sure to use those tactics but came to no avail in the end but reminded us of some simpler times.
The Wild have now lost their fourth straight game heading into the stoppage. They do still lead the Central Division on 40 points, and the Stars close the gap to the Winnipeg Jets to one point sitting 6th with 32 points.
If you want to get your hockey fill before the shutdown for a week, the Washington Capitals visit the Philadelphia Flyers today at 5:00 p.m. MT on ESPN+/Hulu before the Lightning visit the Golden Knights as said earlier at 8:00 p.m. MT.