With the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus spreading like wildfire through the NHL, the league and NHLPA decided to pause games through the Christmas weekend. Under the revised schedule, Dec. 22, 23, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day will be off days for all purposes, including travel.
Previously this week, the NHL announced that cross-border games will be postponed through the holiday break.
According to the NHL release, the players will return to their teams on Dec. 26, which will be used for practice, travel and COVID-19 testing. Anyone that cannot produce a negative COVID-19 test will not be allowed back in team facilities.
According to Bally Sports Midwest’s Andy Strickland, the February break, originally intended for the Beijing Winter Olympic Games, will now be used for make-up games that were previously postponed.
Sources confirm the February break in the #NHL schedule, originally for the Olympics, will now be used to play make up games for all games taken off the board.
— Andy Strickland (@andystrickland) December 21, 2021
Of course, with the news affecting every team in the league, The Rink’s two primary teams are directly impacted. The announcement means Thursday’s game for the Chicago Blackhawks against the Dallas Stars is postponed, while the Seattle Kraken had their Thursday night contest against the Calgary Flames postponed as well.
The postponements come on the heels of both teams having previously had their Tuesday night contests postponed as well, as the Blackhawks were scheduled to face the Florida Panthers, while the Kraken were to host the Arizona Coyotes.
Clearly, this is a fluid situation and can change at a moment’s notice. Stay tuned for more information.
EDIT: The NHL and NHLPA formally announced that they will withdraw from the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, late Tuesday.
BREAKING: The NHL will withdraw from the Winter Olympics after the regular-season schedule was disrupted by coronavirus outbreaks, a person with direct knowledge of the decision told the @AP. https://t.co/FyBMF5swfc
— The Associated Press (@AP) December 21, 2021