More and more NHL teams are grappling with outbreaks of COVID-19. As the Bettman Circuit prepares to tighten its measures to contain and prevent such situations, members of the Montreal Canadiens don’t seem too worried.
In the Canadian camp, no one expected major changes on Wednesday. However, various media reported during the day that the NHL was tightening certain outbreak prevention measures until at least January 7.
“We are doing our best to stay on the ice and healthy,” said defenseman David Savard. We are working hard on prevention. Everyone does their best by wearing a mask and washing their hands. Abroad, when we are at the hotel, we remain cautious. “
According to what was reported by The Associated Press, the new measures in place will include daily drug tests and restrictions on leaving hotels when the team is abroad.
The presence of the Omicron variant has been confirmed in cases across NHL, according to Sportsnet. Players and team members will be encouraged to obtain a third dose of vaccine if they are eligible for it in the region where their team is based.
The Calgary Flames added the names of seven players to the NHL’s COVID-19 roster on Wednesday, bringing their total to 16. Three team games had already been postponed, but the NHL announced in the afternoon that the activities of the Flames were suspended at least until Sunday.
Seven team members, including head coach Darryl Sutter, have also tested positive.
Ten games have already been postponed this season in the NHL due to team outbreaks, including five this week. The NHL and the Players’ Association discussed possible revisions to the COVID-19 protocol on Tuesday evening.
The Nashville Predators reported 12 positive cases Wednesday, six of which affected players.
For the Detroit Red Wings, forwards Robby Fabbri and Michael Rasmussen are on the sidelines in connection with the protocol.
The same goes for Evgeny Kuznetsov of the Washington Capitals.
The Boston Bruins have indicated that Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Craig Smith will not be on their trip to New York, Montreal and Ottawa this week, as they have all integrated the protocol related to COVID-19.
The Carolina Hurricanes expect to take over on Thursday, but could play with less than 18 skaters in uniform.
“I have enough stuff on my mind that I don’t think about what the NHL is going to do,” said Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme when asked about a possible major circuit announcement. The only thing we can do is make sure that we don’t get stuck in a situation like this. “
The Canadian has had three cases of COVID-19 since the start of the campaign.
General manager Marc Bergevin had just concluded a 10-day quarantine after a positive test when he was fired on November 28.
Forward Brendan Gallagher and defenseman Sami Niku were also required to go through NHL protocol associated with COVID-19 on December 2. However, they left the program on Wednesday, and will make a gradual return to the team in order to get back in shape.
“We’re no different from the rest of society,” said defenseman Ben Chiarot. We all want a return to normal. It’s been almost two years now. Every winter there is an increase in the number of cases. We would like a return to normalcy, everyone to be healthy and safe. We’re going to get through this all together. It’s not just the players who are worried, it’s everyone. “
It remains to be seen whether the recent outbreaks will have any long-term impact on the NHL’s schedule. In addition, the three-week Olympic truce is still on the schedule in February, but the participation of NHL players in the Beijing Games seems less and less certain given the risks associated with obtaining a positive test. during the tournament in China.