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OK Daily: Important Updates on COVID and the NHL Season

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The Vegas Golden Knights are living it up right now. They have eight wins in the month of December and still have five games remaining in the calendar year. The Golden Knights have won eight of their last nine, and are now tied for first in the NHL’s Western Conference. But perhaps most importantly, the Golden Knights have no players that are in COVID-19 protocols currently.

The NHL is going through a bit of a COVID-19 crisis right now. Multiple teams such as the Calgary Flames, Detroit Red Wings, Colorado Avalanche, and Boston Bruins have all had their seasons put on pause until after the Christmas break. The NHL has also cancelled all cross-border games between American and Canadian teams until after Christmas break as well.

The Golden Knights will play both the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Los Angeles Kings before Christmas break. Neither team has had their season schedule disrupted yet due to COVID-19. The Golden Knights also do not play a Canadian team until the Winnipeg Jets come to Las Vegas on Janurary 2nd.

Here is a full list on which games have been postponed for the NHL so far.

While neither of these decisions have affected the Golden Knights yet, it is only a matter of time before the Golden Knight’s season is affected by what has been going on in the NHL. Hopefully the Golden Knights can continue to be a team that is on the outside of the COVID-19 spread.

Another area of concern with the NHL is their decision on whether or not to attend the 2022 Winter Olympics. All signs are pointing towards the NHL backing out of their deal with the IIHF due to their ongoing COVID-19 issues.

The Golden Knights have a handful of players that are Olympic-level competitors. Alex Pietrangelo was one of the first three players named to Team Canada’s 2022 Winter Olympic roster. Robin Lehner was one of the first NHL players to confirm that he would not be attending the Olympics.

But despite the NHL’s outbreak in COVID-19 cases, the league had made it very clear that they will not be postponing or cancelling the 2021-22 season. The NHL and NHLPA stated the following quote in a press release which you can read fully here.

“We will continue to play the 2021-22 regular-season schedule. 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.”

NHL News, Trade Rumors, and National Hockey Now

Sorry that this OK Daily basically boils down to me relaying bad news about the NHL and COVID-19…

Sportsnet: More updates on the NHL’s current shutdown for certain teams from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

Sportsnet: Infectious disease specialist Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti says it is too early for the NHL to adopt the NFL’s less restrictive COVID-19 testing policies.

Montreal: Brendan Gallagher was personally “hit hard” by COVID-19 and is thankful that the he can finally rejoin his teammates.

TSN: St. Louis Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly states that he wants “to see no testing unless you have symptoms.

World Juniors: The 2022 IIHF World Junior Tournament, which features some Golden Knights prospects will have it’s pre-tournament schedule reduced due to COVID-19.

Boston: “I have heard that we might shut down until Jan 1,” a source told Boston Hockey Now’s Jimmy Murphy.

Florida: “You don’t want to be stuck in China,” Florida Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau said on the NHL’s decision to go to the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Vegas: Here is a happy story though! Robin Lehner returned to Long Island for the first time since leaving the New York Islanders organization.

Oh… and Alex Tuch was supposed to make his debut with the Sabres! But… uh… they got shutdown too.

 

 

Welcome to your new home for Vegas Golden Knights breaking news, analysis and opinion. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and don't forget to subscribe to VHN+ for all of our members-only content the entire Vegas Hockey Now crew plus an ad-free browsing experience.

Owen Krepps covers the Vegas Golden Knights for Vegas Hockey Now. A 2022 Robert Morris University graduate, he has previously written for RMU Sentry Media, Colonial Sports Network, The Titusville Herald, Pittsburgh Sports Now, and Pittsburgh Hockey Now.

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