Maybe we should’ve known that the NHL season shouldn’t have started when the Dallas Stars and Carolina Hurricanes couldn’t make it through training camp without a COVID outbreak. Maybe it was when the Washington Capitals were fined $100,000 for failing to meet COVID protocols (that they understood). Maybe it was when both the NHL and the New Jersey Devils refused to provide the Buffalo Sabres with information about the Devils COVID outbreak.
Regardless, it is indisputable: the NHL cannot play these games safely. With players and NHL personnel’s health in jeopardy, it is time for the NHL to acknowledge reality and pause the upcoming season.
This week has shown the NHL cannot manage COVID risks safely.
Just this week, we have seen COVID outbreaks spike in the NHL. Four teams have shut down their practice facilities due to multiple players and coaches testing positive, and the NHL has already announced schedule changes for 27 games. Contrast that with the NBA, where no players tested positive all week.
Also this week, we learned more about the fiasco of the Buffalo Sabres series last weekend with the New Jersey Devils. In short, it appears that both the NHL and the Devils concealed details of a COVID outbreak. Even worse, despite the Sabres concerns, the NHL continued with the scheduled games. As a result, the Sabres now have seven players on the NHL’s COVID protocol list and 61-year old Sabres head coach Ralph Krueger tested positive for COVID.