The NHL announced zero positive COVID-19 results among the 800 players tested during the second week of formal training camps. With that in mind, the NHL notes two positive COVID-19 tests over two weeks of training camp.
This optimistic NHL news comes at a time when people are wondering about the viability of various sports’ return-to-play plans. Most obviously, MLB is going through a crisis after what looks like a COVID-19 outbreak for the Miami Marlins.
As Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy notes, the NHL’s return-to-play bubble could help reduce the odds of an outbreak.
Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy spells out an important difference in what NHL/NBA are doing compared to NFL/MLB: “We are in a bubble. Major League Baseball is not.”
— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) July 27, 2020
Granted, that doesn’t mean the NHL is immune to experiencing a rash of COVID-19 cases in similar ways to MLB. But it’s reasonable to believe that more travel could create more chances for players and staff to be exposed to COVID-19.
Being that NHL teams traveled to playoff hubs in Edmonton and Toronto during the weekend, expect this to be another pivotal moment as the league tries to hold the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers.
More on NHL COVID-19 testing (positive tests or otherwise) during Return to Play
Let’s circle back to some of those COVID-19 testing numbers.
Again, during the two weeks of NHL training camp, the league only became aware of two positive tests. The NHL revealed that 6,874 COVID-19 tests were administered.
NHL statement on COVID-19 testing results: pic.twitter.com/5dObzonFWA
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) July 27, 2020
Previously, the NHL announced that they were aware of 43 positive COVID-19 results during Phase 2 of the Return to Play. That process (which involved skating in small groups at team facilities) began on June 8.
So, basically, the NHL has become aware of 45 positive COVID-19 test results since June 8. Since June 8, the NHL announced about 13,000 COVID-19 tests have been administered.
For those who believe this boils down to the NHL beating its chest about its process, note that the league’s made weekly COVID-19 testing announcements.
And it’s still fair to wonder about this entire process, even if it all results in a fairly friction-less awarding of the 2020 Stanley Cup. After all, the sheer volume of COVID-19 testing could end up astonishing. In its own announcement, the NHL noted daily tests for all 24 teams, which include 52 people (players and staff) apiece. That translates to 1,248 COVID-19 tests per day, and teams won’t be eliminated from the process for a while.
Can the NHL pull this Return to Play off and award the 2020 Stanley Cup? We’ll see.
Should the NHL go through with this? That’s a debate that could go on for a long time. And there’s no guarantee that other COVID-19 testing results will seem as positive for the NHL as the latest one.
(But, yes, this inspires at least temporary optimism that the NHL bubble might have a shot.)
More on NHL return to play, CBA extension, COVID-19:
- Full schedule for 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers
- Hockey is back: NHL, NHLPA ratify CBA, return to play agreement
- Salary cap to stay flat at $81.5 million
- Power rankings: training camp storylines
- Several players opt out of NHL return to play