While pausing the schedule is seen as a last resort, at least one NHL player feels it might be a good idea as the COVID-19 protocol list continues to grow.
Nashville Predators forward Nick Cousins gave his thoughts about the issue while responding to a tweet from Sportsnet 590 The FAN host Nick Kypreos regarding COVID-19 concerns for other teams.
About an hour later, the Predators announced Cousins was on the COVID list.
.@PredsNHL Assistant Coach Dan Hinote and Forward Nick Cousins have been added to the COVID Protocol List. @mkeadmirals Head Coach Karl Taylor, Assistant Coach Scott Ford and Preds Assistant GM Scott Nichol will be behind the bench for the team tonight.
— Nashville Predators PR (@PredsPR) December 16, 2021
The Predators called up four forwards and two coaches from Milwaukee of the AHL on Thursday with the entire coaching staff and seven players on the COVID protocol list ahead of a game against the Colorado Avalanche.
Predators captain Roman Josi was asked if his team should be playing on Thursday.
“I don’t know. That’s not my decision,” he said. “We’re preparing to play a game, we’re preparing to win a hockey game. Everything else is kind of out of our control. But obviously it’s not a very good situation around the league. It’s not just our team, it’s a lot of other teams.”
Nashville wasn’t the only team playing Thursday with roster headaches.
The Carolina Hurricanes were slated to return to action at night after having a game postponed Tuesday, but they were expected to play two men short at forward against the Detroit Red Wings.
“I’m not going to say much about it. I’m probably the last person they want to hear from,” said Hurricanes defenceman Tony DeAngelo when asked about the rules causing the team to play short-handed.
The Hurricanes have recalled forwards Jack Drury, Stefan Noesen and Andrew Poturalski from Chicago of the AHL on an emergency basis.
Meanwhile, the Florida Panthers had only 13 players for their morning skate ahead of a Thursday game against the Los Angeles Kings.
The team recalled forwards Cole Schwindt and Grigori Denisenko along with defencemen Matt Kiersted and Chase Priskie if the game goes along as scheduled, as Panthers’ beat reporter George Richards reports.
The Boston Bruins are now down six players after forwards Anton Blidh, Trent Frederic and goaltender Jeremy Swayman went into protocol on Thursday.
North of the border, the Calgary Flames added two more players to COVID protocol and now have 18 on the list. Calgary has had four games postponed and its return date remains up in the air.
Edmonton Oilers forward Devin Shore also joined the list.
Editor’s Note: The COVID-19 situation, in the NHL and around the world, is constantly evolving. Readers in Canada can consult the country’s public health website for the latest.