The NHL announced that six Dallas Stars players and two staff members tested positive for COVID-19. With that, Stars practice was canceled on Friday. It wasn’t the only COVID-related disruption on Friday, either, as several Blue Jackets were held out of practice for what the team calls “an abundance of caution.”
Dallas Stars cancel practice after six players, two staffers test positive for COVID
Here’s the full statement from the NHL on behalf of the Stars canceling practice due to COVID:
The National Hockey League announced today that six Dallas Stars players and two staff members have recently confirmed positive tests for the COVID-19 virus. Those individuals are self-isolating and following CDC and League protocols. As a result of the positive tests, and as an appropriate precaution, the team’s training facilities have been closed, effective immediately, and will remain closed for several days while further daily testing and contact tracing is conducted. The League is in the process of reviewing and revising the Stars’ regular season schedule with the expectation that the team will not open its 2020-21 season earlier than Tuesday, January 19.
The Stars organization has, and will continue to follow, all recommended guidelines aimed at protecting the health and safety of its players, staff and community at large as set by the NHL, local, state and national agencies.
As you can see from the release, the NHL is “reviewing and revising” the Stars schedule. We’ve seen other leagues cancel or reschedule games due to COVID, and it’s looking like the NHL is not immune to such issues. PHT will monitor specific updates to the Stars’ schedule, whether that means a later opening than Jan. 19 or not.
The Stars were already undermanned to start the 2020-21 season thanks to Tyler Seguin and Ben Bishop recovering from offseason surgeries.
The Dallas Morning News’ Matthew DeFranks shared screengrabs of the NHL’s protocol following positive tests:
From the NHL's positive test protocol on how long positive tests must isolate, and how the league defines close contacts. pic.twitter.com/Oif38G5awF
— Matthew DeFranks (@MDeFranks) January 8, 2021
Several Blue Jackets miss practice for COVID reasons
Meanwhile, the Blue Jackets released this statement about players missing practice. The Blue Jackets experienced earlier COVID-related disruptions, too.
The Columbus Blue Jackets have held a number of players out of today’s scheduled practice out of an abundance of caution and in accordance with NHL Covid-19 protocols.
— CBJ Public Relations (@BlueJacketsPR) January 8, 2021
While the Blue Jackets addressed the news that “a number” of players missed practice, reporters shared other specifics.
Via The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline, 17 players missed Blue Jackets practice on Friday. On one hand, it’s important to note that specific Blue Jackets missing practice doesn’t mean each player tested positive for COVID. On the other hand, it’s still noteworthy that they’re being held out, “abundance of caution” or not.
Portzline put together this list of Blue Jackets players who missed Friday’s practice (more here, sub required):
Forwards: Emil Bemstrom, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Max Domi, Nick Foligno, Nathan Gerbe, Liam Foudy, Mikhail Grigorenko, Boone Jenner, Mikko Koivu, Eric Robinson and Alexandre Texier.
Defensemen: Adam Clendening, Michael Del Zotto, Vladislav Gavrikov, Seth Jones, Andrew Peeke and David Savard.
Those are indeed some big names for the Blue Jackets.
Both the Stars and Blue Jackets are in wait-and-see situations regarding COVID, but this is already significant news for the teams, and the NHL. PHT will have more as this develops.