In light of a COVID-19 outbreak amongst the players of the Minnesota Wild, the NHL announced today that the league will be postponing the next four games on the Wild schedule, starting with Thursday night’s originally scheduled contest with the Colorado Avalanche, through to next Tuesday’s matchup against the St. Louis Blues.
Rescheduled dates have not yet been announced, but it is expected that the NHL will try to make up the postponed games during the Wild’s originally scheduled five-day break from Feb. 21-25.
In addition to Marcus Foligno who was placed in the COVID protocol on January 31st, five additional players were added on Wednesday: Nick Bjugstad, Joel Eriksson Ek, Nick Bonino, Marcus Johansson, and Jared Spurgeon. The Avalanche also announced that Tyler Jost had been placed in the protocol after playing in all three games between the two teams this past week.
The Wild outbreak seems to be another example of a team becoming infected after facing off with an opponent who later tested positive, as the Los Angeles Kings announced forward Andreas Athanasiou had been placed in the protocol after facing the Wild on January 28th. And in addition to Jost’s inclusion in the protocol after playing Minnesota, the Buffalo Sabres are in the midst of an outbreak after facing the New Jersey Devils, who also had positives of their own. If on-ice transmission is occuring at the frequency it appears to be, the NHL will have to face the possibility that they may have to take drastic steps to get these outbreaks under control, including pausing the season or instituting a bubble - two methods that were effective at the end of the 2019-20 season and into the playoffs.
We will update this story with any further information on players in the protocol, game postponements or rescheduling.