After a quasi cryptic tweet from TSN’s Darren Dreger, reporting more COVID-related issues with the team—and then later reporting at least one positive test on the Flyers—news of a potential postponement began to trickle out, which led to stronger confirmations around the media circle.
I can confirm that tonight's Flyers-Caps game has been postponed. @frank_seravalli had it first.— Charlie O'Connor (@charlieo_conn) February 9, 2021
Philadelphia has already had this week’s series of games against the Devils postponed, due to multiple handfuls of players ending up on the league’s COVID protocol list. This would mean any potential return—if cleared by the NHL—would be against the New York Rangers on Feb. 14.
This game takes the NHL’s number of games postponed up to 34, after outbreaks throughout the league has caused ripples of schedule changes. The Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils, Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild, have had multiple games postponed throughout the last two weeks, leaving teams around the league to either reschedule games against those teams that have been greatly effected.
According to Michael Russo of The Athletic, the NHL is starting to send their positive test to the Mayo Clinic, to perform viral genetic sequencing, to determine the subtypes of the virus. With that information, they can further track where the infection came from, which will also determine if there is a possibility that players are infecting one another while on the ice during play. Other professional sports leagues on North America are already doing this, but with the amount of players on the NHL’s protocol list going into triple digits just a month into the season, they’re falling behind and trying to catch up to the proper procedures.
The NHL has made the schedule change official, including the confirmation that there will be a second Flyers player on the protocol list this afternoon.
Along with the Flyers’ changes, the NHL rescheduled matches between the St. Louis Blues and Arizona Coyotes, to fill in the time for those two clubs are relatively healthy and able to play hockey, moving a game that was originally scheduled for April 15, to Feb. 12. Making it seven straight against each other this month.