Now we play the waiting game.
Late Wednesday afternoon, the NHL announced that Colorado Avalanche forward Tyson Jost has been added to the league’s COVID protocol list. This doesn’t necessarily mean that he has the virus, but it does mean the Avalanche have to proceed with an abundance of caution over the next few days.
A player is added to the list for two reasons: if he is in close contact with someone who is confirmed to have COVID-19 or if he has a test return a positive result. As part of the NHL’s protocol, every player on every team is tested regularly. The players and staff members will take a rapid test, which is more susceptible to a false positive, each time they enter the building and should a positive result arise, the player is immediately put on the list, isolated and administered a more accurate PCR test. As far as we know, that’s what is going on with Jost right now.
As part of the protocol, the league won’t elaborate as to whether or not the player has the virus, but what comes next should shed light on the situation. Someone is added to the list if they either test positive on a rapid test or if they’re in close contact (off the ice) to someone who is confirmed to have the virus.
What we know now is that Thursday night’s game against the Minnesota Wild has been postponed, but it’s not because of Jost. Last night, the NHL also announced that five Wild players have also been added to the list and that their season will be shut down for at least the next seven days.
That’s not a good sign when you consider that the Avalanche have spent their last three games playing against Minnesota. Add to that Jost’s name appearing on the list and it wouldn’t be at all that surprising to see a number of other Avalanche players added in the coming days.
While the Avs wait for more information, we can look to the East Division for what to expect thanks to the exact same situation playing out. On Tuesday, the NHL announced that at least 10 more players on the New Jersey Devils would be added to the COVID list—that brings the list to 17 New Jersey players. A day later, four Buffalo Sabres players were added to the list—something that can undoubtedly be linked to Buffalo’s weekend series with the Devils.
The NHL has made claims that the virus doesn’t get transmitted from player to player on the ice, but the evidence from the series between the Sabres and Devils would beg to differ. Kyle Palmieri was added to the COVID list prior to puck drop in Buffalo Sunday afternoon. Bob McKenzie is reporting that the Sabres then went to the NHLPA with concerns about exposure but that the league let the game go ahead as scheduled. Now, nearly two dozen players have tested positive between the two teams. The whole situation points to negligence on the part of the NHL.
It’s also worth noting that Jared Spurgeon is one of the Wild players who is now on the COVID list. Spurgeon mysteriously left Sunday’s game against the Avs before the start of the third period. A scenario exists where he was pulled from the game when a positive result came back. Regardless of when the Wild knew about the outbreak, none of this is good news for the Avalanche.
All things considered, it’s very likely that the outbreak with the Wild will lead to a week long shut down for the Avalanche as well. Don’t be surprised if as early as today, more Avalanche players pop up on the COVID list—something that would result in the league postponing all team activities for at least a week.
After tonight’s postponed game, the Avalanche are scheduled to fly to St. Louis for a back-to-back with the Blues over the weekend before returning home for two games against the Arizona Coyotes. There is a very good chance that none of those games happen as initially scheduled. The next game after that would be a trip to Las Vegas on Feb. 14 to take on the Golden Knights, who are currently in the midst of their own 10-day shut down.
With this news, the NHL has now had multiple outbreaks in each division, except the North. There have been a handful of North Division players appear on the list because of exposure, but for now, every Canadian team has been able to stay on the ice as scheduled.
All the Avalanche can do now is wait and follow the guidelines set out by the NHL. They won’t be on the ice today, and the odds are good that they won’t be traveling to St. Louis tomorrow. Everyone should know more by this evening, and we will update as the league releases more information.
On Thursday, Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog was added to the NHL’s COVID Protocol List. He is the second Colorado player on the list this season as he joins Tyson Jost who was put on the list on Wednesday.
Gabriel Landeskog has been added to the NHL’s COVID list— Mile High Hockey (@MileHighHockey) February 4, 2021
This was the full update on Thursday. Nico Sturm of the Wild was also put on the list.