The Detroit Red Wings announced Sunday night that the season was postponed until at least Dec. 26 due to a COVID outbreak on the roster.
The news follows an earlier report that Pius Suter, Sam Gagner, Joe Veleno and an assistant coach were placed into COVID protocol.
The four join a bevy of other Red Wings already on COVID protocol, including members of the coaching staff.
According to Steve Yzerman, symptoms have been minor for all of the players.
In Detroit’s 5-2 win against the Devils Saturday night, Jeff Blashill, Alex Tanguay, Givani Smith, Carter Rowney and Alex Nedeljkovic were all missing from the lineup. Just a few days earlier, the Red Wings faced a Hurricanes squad missing a handful of key pieces.
Detroit’s matchup against the Colorado Avalanche was already postponed last week.
The Red Wings aren’t the only team facing major outbreaks. Calgary, Florida and Colorado are a few other teams that have shut down until after Christmas. The way things have been trending, it seems almost certain that other teams will soon follow suit.
With the Olympic around the corner, it’s beginning to look almost certain that the NHL will avoid international travel. According to the Olympic Committee, NHL players that contract COVID are subject to the rules of the Chinese government. That means multiple weeks of quarantine for the players if they test positive during the Olympics.
It’s not just the Olympics in jeopardy – all games are going to be uncertain for the foreseeable future. All across sports, the Omicron COVID variant has been infecting rosters, forcing postponements and an ever-expanding number of absences.
It’s hard to say where the league goes from here. So far, the response has been to increase protections and protocols to nearly mid-pandemic levels.
As of the break, Detroit is technically in a playoff spot with 33 points. The Red Wings next schedule game is on Dec. 27, where they travel to New York to play the Rangers.