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NHL postpones Golden Knights-Avalanche game for COVID reasons

Updated December 24, 2021 - 4:44 pm

The Golden Knights’ holiday break has been extended.

The NHL announced Friday it won’t resume its schedule Monday as originally planned, meaning the Knights’ matchup with the Colorado Avalanche at T-Mobile Arena has been postponed. No makeup date was announced.

The Knights’ next scheduled game is Tuesday at the Los Angeles Kings.

The NHL has been off since Wednesday after beginning its holiday break early because of numerous COVID-19 outbreaks. More than 100 players, including Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo and right wing Evgenii Dadonov, were in the league’s COVID-19 protocol before the pause.

The NHL said it pushed its restart date back to analyze leaguewide testing results and assess teams’ readiness to play. Teams are allowed to return to their facilities Sunday, though the Knights are not scheduled to practice. The NHL said it expects to have an update on its return-to-play plans Sunday.

The league’s decision means 14 games scheduled for Monday are being pushed back. That brings the number of postponements this season to 64. The Knights have had one home game against the Kings postponed in addition to Monday’s against the Avalanche.

“It’s a tough situation,” defenseman Shea Theodore said Tuesday. “The league is doing as good a job that they can. Just trying to stop the spread. There’s only so much you can do.”

The Knights said all ticket holders for the Colorado game will receive an email from the organization.

The disruption to the schedule led to the league and players association agreeing to not go to the 2022 Winter Olympics. The NHL said it will use its planned Olympic break to make up games. A revised scheduled has not been released.

All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas is still expected to take place Feb. 4 and 5.

The outbreaks previously led the NHL and players association to agree to tighter restrictions through Jan. 7 that include daily testing, increased masking, no more dining out on the road and an emphasis on virtual meetings.

Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman has advocated for further changes, asking the league to reduce testing for vaccinated, asymptomatic players. He said most players who test positive are not getting seriously ill because the NHL is almost fully vaccinated.

Right wing Reilly Smith said “a lot of people support what Yzerman said.” It’s an approach the NFL recently took after COVID-19 outbreaks forced it to juggle its schedule.

It probably would be much harder to pull off in the NHL because of its seven Canadian teams and frequent cross-border travel. The Canadian government requires fully vaccinated travelers to produce a negative test before crossing.

“If we can play games, we want to play,” Smith said.

Contact Ben Gotz at bgotz@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BenSGotz on Twitter.

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