Cross-border games postponed through holiday break

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The NHL announced Sunday that cross-border games will be postponed through the holiday break because of COVID-19 concerns.

The decision was made due to the concern about cross-border travel and “the fluid nature of federal travel restrictions.”

Despite the increasing number of positive test results for COVID-19, the NHL also announced that it would continue to play the 2021-22 season.

“Although there has been a recent increase in positive COVID test results among players, coaches and hockey staff, there have been a low number of positive cases that have resulted in concerning symptoms or serious illness,” the NHL said in a statement. “Therefore, the NHLPA’s and NHL’s medical experts have determined that, with virtually all players and club hockey staff fully vaccinated, the need to temporarily shut down individual teams should continue to be made on a case-by-case basis. The effects of recently introduced enhanced prevention and detection measures will be evaluated daily. The NHL and NHLPA, along with their medical experts, will be monitoring not only the number and pattern of positive COVID results, but also the depth of club lineups so as to ensure both the health and safety of the players and the integrity of League competition.”

On Sunday, the Detroit Red Wings became the sixth NHL team to be shut down through the holiday break, joining the Boston Bruins, Nashville Predators, Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche and Florida Panthers.

The Red Wings, whose game at the Minnesota Wild on Thursday was postponed as a result of the shutdown, currently have nine players and three members of the coaching staff in COVID-19 protocol.

Forwards Carter Rowney, Givani Smith and Filip Zadina, goalie Alex Nedeljkovic, coach Jeff Blashill and assistant Alex Tanguay were added prior to Detroit’s 5-2 win against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday.

Forwards Pius Suter, Sam Gagner and Joe Veleno, and assistant video coach Jeff Weintraub were added Sunday.

Forwards Robby Fabbri and Michael Rasmussen were added on Wednesday.

Because of the amount of games that have been postponed this season, which is now up to 40, and the continuing uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, the NHL and NHLPA are actively discussing whether players should participate in the 2022 Beijing Olympics. 

An announcement is expected in the coming days.

The NHL will shut down Dec. 24-26 for Christmas.

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