The NHL announced Sunday that all games matching a Canadian-based team against a U.S. team from Monday through the start of the holiday break on Thursday will be postponed and rescheduled.
The league said the games are being called off because of concerns about COVID-19 in relation to cross-border travel and the “fluid nature” of federal travel restrictions.
The postponements comprise these 12 games:
--Monday, Montreal at New York Islanders, plus Anaheim at Edmonton
--Tuesday, St. Louis at Ottawa, Vancouver at San Jose
--Wednesday, Montreal at the New York Rangers, Winnipeg at Dallas, Edmonton at Los Angeles
--Thursday, St. Louis at Toronto, Carolina at Ottawa, Montreal at New Jersey, Anaheim at Vancouver, Edmonton at San Jose.
The Boston Bruins already had games this weekend against the Canadiens and Senators postponed, as well as games this week against the Hurricanes and Avalanche.
The NHL said it will continue to play its 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,” the league 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. “
NHL Olympic decision expected in daysThe NHL and its players’ association on Sunday said they were in discussions and expect to make a decision in the coming days about whether to participate in the Beijing Winter Olympics amid an outbreak of COVID-19 cases.
The outbreaks have led to the postponement of 27 games as of Saturday, with at least 12 more expected to be postponed through Dec. 23.
“Given the disruption to the NHL’s regular-season schedule caused by recent COVID-related events... and the continued uncertainty caused by the ongoing COVID pandemic, the NHL and NHLPA are actively discussing the matter of NHL player participation in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, and expect to be in a position to announce a final determination in the coming days,” the two bodies said in a joint statement.
The league said it would, however, forge ahead with its 2021-22 regular 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 statement said.
“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 Beijing Games run from Feb. 4-20.
NBA postpones games
The NBA on Sunday announced it had postponed the next two Brooklyn Nets games and games for three other teams due to the high number of players and staff that have entered the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
The Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers will also have games rescheduled because of the recent wave of new cases.
A total of seven NBA games have been postponed since last week. On Monday, the Chicago Bulls postponed two games after players and staff members were placed in protocols.
The Eastern Conference-leading Nets have been particularly hard hit, with stars Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving among the nine players unable to suit up due to the protocols.