New Positive Test for Blues
The St. Louis Blues announced today December 26th, that they have added four more players to the Covid-19 protocol list. Robert Bortuzzo, Dakota Joshua, and James Neal Tested positive on Dec 26, and Ivan Barbashev, of the Spetsnaz line, had a positive test on Dec 23rd.
These players Joined Oskar Sundqvist in the protocol list. He tested positive on Dec 18th.
The NHL has experienced a large surge in players testing positive for the virus, mirroring both the USA, Canada, and many other countries. The fourth variant of Covid-19, Omicron, appears to be highly contagious, but not as fatal. Governments around the world are coming to grips with how to respond, including shutting down airlines and other industries.
The NHL took an extended holiday break on December 22nd. Games were to begin on Dec 27th, but as more players and staff tested positive, the league extended the break to the 28th.
NHL Announced relief efforts for teams.
According to the Web Site Capfriendly.com which tracks the NHL salary cap and cap rules, the NHL and NHLPA have reached an agreement to temporally allow teams some relief to protect the quality of the product on the ice.
The NHL has temporarily reintroduced the Taxi Squad system between today and the All-Star break.
Attached are some of the important rules that we have been made aware of so far. pic.twitter.com/TQ4LoycY36
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) December 26, 2021
The NHL will allow teams to have a third goalie and also bring the “Taxi Squad” from last season back with some changes as noted in the tweet. Teams could also exceed the current salary cap by bringing a player up as long as the cap hit does not exceed one million dollars.
These emergency measures are to prevent teams from playing with less than a standard roster of two goalies, six defensemen, and 12 forwards. Many teams, including the Blues, have had to play a player or two short at least one game or employ the Emergency Back-Up Goalie (E-BUG).
Blues GM Doug Armstrong told Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic, “New rules (taxi squad, emergency callups making < $1 million) was something he was hoping for 6-8 wks ago but it’s good teams will now be able to dress full lineups. He hasn’t decided how he’ll use taxi squad but emphasized he wants to keep players on the ice somewhere.”
Army says new rules (taxi squad, emergency callups making < $1 million) was something he was hoping for 6-8 wks ago but it's good teams will now be able to dress full lineups. He hasn't decided how he'll use taxi squad but emphasized he wants to keep players on the ice somewhere.
— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) December 27, 2021
Armstrong also told rutherford, “I think it’s the right thing to do. I think COVID is its own animal. It’s not related to hockey in any stretch. I think taxiing a small number of players might not prevent COVID, but it might add to injuries. So I think the rules that are in place now are going to guarantee 18 skaters, or try to guarantee 18 skaters, and 2 goalies, and that’s a positive for the league and the fans.”
The Blues practice on Sunday at Centene Community Ice Center using the following lines:
The St. Louis Blues’ next scheduled game is against Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday, December 29th at 7:30 PM CST at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis, MO. that is the Last game for the Note before the Winter Classic scheduled for new years day at Target Field in Minnesota.
The NHL released a statement on NHL.com the Bridgestone Winter Classic between the Minnesota Wild and the St. Louis Blues, was “Full Speed Ahead.” according to NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly.
“We’re relatively healthy when it comes to COVID vis a vis those two teams,” Daly said of the Wild and Blues during an Interview with NHL Now. “I obviously hope it stays that way. But I see nothing at this point that gets in the way of us having a fantastic Winter Classic. I think Minnesota is going to be a fabulous host. We’re very excited about the venue. We’re very excited about the experience, and I think all of our fans should be looking forward to it.”
Daly also warned that the “NHL understands it will have to navigate through COVID-related obstacles that will require more flexibility and understanding, particularly with cross-border travel between the United States and Canada.”
Here is wishing the NHL the best.
Till next time hockey fans,
Guy “Hawaii Hockey Fan” Bensing