Before the puck fell in the 2021 NHL season, the league had already been affected by COVID-19.
Aside from the start date pushed back to January 13, a number of players have tested positive and four teams have had training camps suspended for at least one day or a large number of players missed the time. The Stars closed their camp on January 9 after revealing that six players and two staff members had tested positive. The Penguins canceled training camp the same day while the Blue Jackets had 19 missed players at training camp on Friday. On Sunday, the Canucks canceled the practice “out of caution due to potential exposure to COVID-19.”
The day before the start of the season, the NHL announced that 27 players had tested positive during training camp. Of these, 17 players were members of the Dallas Stars and the statement noted that most of them “are asymptomatic and all are currently recovering without complications.” Rangers striker Mika Zibanejad confirmed on January 11 that he missed the start of the camp due to a positive COVID-19 test. On January 13, Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar revealed that Erik Johnson had tested positive.
Ahead of the league’s opening game on Wednesday, the NHL announced that two players would miss the first game of what is listed under COVID protocol absences. Players listed in this category have not necessarily tested positive for the coronavirus; this could be a precautionary measure. If a player were in close contact with someone who has tested positive or has reported common symptoms for COVID-19, they would fall into this category. If a player tests positive, they will be flagged as such. The NHL will post names before each game.
NHL players eliminated due to COVID-19
|January 13 against Penguins||Shayne Gostisbehere|
|January 13 vs Flyers||Kasperi Kapanen|