The Minnesota Wild are the latest NHL team to see games postponed due to COVID-19 protocols. The NHL announced that the Wild will see at least four games postponed (missing games through at least Feb. 9). There are now six Wild players on the NHL’s COVID protocol absences list.
NHL postpones Wild games through at least Feb. 9 due to COVID protocol
While Marcus Foligno was already on the NHL’s COVID list, he’s been joined by five other Wild players: Jared Spurgeon, Nick Bjugstad, Nick Bonino, Joel Eriksson Ek, and Marcus Johansson.
The Wild were scheduled to face the Avalanche on Thursday, the Coyotes on Saturday and Sunday, and the Blues on Tues., Feb. 9. At the moment, their Feb. 11 game against the Blues stands, but that’s subject to change.
Schedule Update: @mnwild games postponed at least through Tuesday, Feb. 9. https://t.co/eYZKMkyx0v pic.twitter.com/FiVd8T8dKh
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) February 4, 2021
Last week, the Vegas Golden Knights went from coaches missing games to games being postponed altogether. Entering this week, the New Jersey Devils postponed at least two games, and feature a lot of players on the NHL’s COVID absences list. Reporters, including John Vogl of the Athletic, indicate that the Buffalo Sabres voiced concerns about facing the Devils during the weekend. Then the Sabres became the next NHL team to see games postponed because of COVID protocols.
Source: "Buffalo is furious. … They asked for more info from the league and from NJ on both Saturday and Sunday when Zajac and Palmieri went out" and they didn't get it. https://t.co/7sjs5AaHvU
— John Vogl (@BuffaloVogl) February 2, 2021
For what it’s worth, Vogl spoke with NHL executive Bill Daly, who denied Sabres’ comments, and also was non-committal about COVID transmission being possible during games.
Now add the Wild to this group (Devils, Golden Knights, Sabres) and you have four teams dealing with such a pause, not to mention their would-be opponents.
The Wild lost to the Avalanche on Tuesday, so Colorado could also be a team to watch.
Reports: About 90 players have been on the COVID protocol absences list
Via Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston, approximately 90 NHL players have landed on the league’s COVID protocol absences list at some point during the first three weeks of the 2020-21 season.
Now, it’s crucial to note that landing on that list doesn’t guarantee that all of those players tested positive for COVID. Nor does it mean that all of them dealt with severe symptoms. Stephen Whyno of the Associated Press expanded upon Johnston’s notes:
As @reporterchris tweeted, ~90 players on NHL COVID list since season began.
Now 22 postponed games affecting 16 of 24 US NHL teams.
— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) February 4, 2021
For a look at how things progressed team-by-team, this Sporting News tracker is quite handy.
Here’s the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol absences list for Feb. 3:
Anaheim – none
Arizona – none
Boston – none
Buffalo – Taylor Hall, Brandon Montour, Tobias Rieder, Rasmus Ristolainen
Calgary – none
Carolina – none
Chicago – Adam Boqvist, Ryan Carpenter, Lucas Wallmark
Colorado – Tyson Jost
Columbus – none
Dallas – Andrej Sekera
Detroit – Filip Zadina
Edmonton – none
Florida – none
Los Angeles – Andreas Athanasiou, Blake Lizotte
Minnesota – Nick Bjugstad, Nick Bonino, Joel Eriksson Ek, Marcus Foligno, Marcus Johansson, Jared Spurgeon
Montreal – none
Nashville – none
New Jersey – Nate Bastian, Jesper Bratt, Connor Carrick, Aaron Dell, Nikita Gusev, Jack Hughes, Andreas Johnsson, Janne Kuokkanen, Michael McLeod, Kyle Palmieri, Damon Severson, Yegor Sharangovich, Ty Smith, Matt Tennyson, Sami Vatanen, Pavel Zacha, Travis Zajac
NY Islanders – none
NY Rangers – none
Ottawa – none
Philadelphia – none
Pittsburgh – John Marino
San Jose – none
St. Louis – none
Tampa Bay – none
Toronto – none
Vancouver – none
Vegas – Alex Pietrangelo
Washington – Evgeny Kuznetsov, Ilya Samsonov
Winnipeg – Pierre-Luc Dubois
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.