Monday’s NHL schedule got even lighter with the news that the Blue Jackets and Canadiens have been shut down through the holiday break.
Columbus was set to visit the Sabres, while the Canadiens were already shut down after the NHL announced there would be no cross-border travel this week. Montreal was scheduled to play at the Islanders, Rangers and Devils. The Blue Jackets were to play a home-and-home with Buffalo before breaking for Christmas.
From The NHL:
A decision on when each team’s training facilities will re-open will be made by the League and the NHLPA in the coming days. The League is in the process of reviewing and revising the regular season schedule.
The Blue Jackets and Canadiens have followed, and will continue to follow, all recommended guidelines aimed at protecting the health and safety of their Players, staff and community at large as set by the NHL, local, state/provincial and federal agencies.
Blue Jackets players Boone Jenner, Jack Roslovic, and Gabriel Carlsson entered NHL COVID-19 protocol on Sunday. Eric Robinson, Andrew Peeke and Joonas Korpisalo joined them on Monday. The team planned to hold their morning skate in Columbus before hopping on a flight to upstate New York on Monday and arriving in the early afternoon.
The Blue Jackets ended up canceling their morning skate as they finished their daily COVID-19 tests. As they waited to see the results out of Columbus, the Sabres held a film session instead of hitting the ice Monday morning to skate.
Two more games postponed
The NHL announced Monday afternoon that Tuesday’s Devils-Penguins game in New Jersey is off. The league cited “COVID-related issues affecting the Devils.” This was to be New Jersey’s final game before the break after their Thursday game against the Canadiens was postponed following the cross-border announcement.
As of now, Thursday’s game between the Penguins and Flyers in Pittsburgh is still on.
Also called off was Tuesday’s game between the Coyotes and Kraken in Seattle “due to COVID-19 safety measures.”
No makeup dates have been announced.
Flames trending in positive direction
The Flames have not played Dec. 11 following a COVID-19 outbreak within the team. On Monday, the team announced that no players or staff tested positive for a third straight day and they have reopened their practice facility for those who have remained negative through all their testing.
If all continues trending this week, they could resume their season Dec. 27 at home against the Oilers, the NHL’s first day back from the holiday break. That would also mark Edmonton’s first game after having three game postponed this week, though Darnell Nurse and William Lagesson both entered COVID-19 protocol on Monday.
Over 130 players and team staff are currently in COVID-19 protocol. Forty-four NHL games have now been postponed this season with 39 coming within the last week. There will now be only eight games this week before the league pauses Dec. 24-26.
Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.