With COVID cases on the rise, the NHL has elected to pause the season, postponing any games from Wednesday through December 26. The NHL announced this on Monday evening, as the plan is to obviously halt the rising COVID cases.
11 teams have suspended operations already and on Monday roughly 15 percent of the players in the entire league were in COVID protocol. This decision is on the heels of the NHL reintroducing protocols such as daily testing and social distancing measures.
For the Islanders, they already had their game with the Montreal Canadiens postponed last night and this means that Thursday's contest with the Washington Capitals will also be postponed. It appears like these games will be made up during the February break.
Unfortunately, this confirms the obvious that the NHL will not be participating in the Olympics this year which is something that everyone was looking forward to. Instead, they'll be using that allotted time to make up any missed games from this week.
This year, COVID has impacted the Islanders greatly. Currently, star center, Mathew Barzal is on the list but they also had guys like Adam Pelech, Andy Greene, Anthony Beauvillier, Josh Bailey, Anders Lee, Casey Cizikas, Ross Johnston, Kieffer Bellows, and Zdeno Chara spend time on the COVID list as well earlier in the season.
It's become a league wide issue, which was the fear all along, and now the only remaining option the NHL had was to shut things down in hopes that the time away from each other will knock out any current cases and stop the spread.
Everyone wants to watch these games, and sure it's a bummer anytime a league has to cancel games but in this instance, I'm not sure what else they could've done other than act earlier of course.