The National Hockey League responded to shockwaves in the sports world when it suspended its 2019-20 regular season on Thursday, March 12, right after the National Basketball Association swiftly did so in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, the sports world has crumbled in an effort to limit the spread of the virus.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and team owners were fairly progressive in their response once play was suspended. Essentially, players were told to self-isolate for 10-14 days- preferably in their team’s cities, but were allowed to travel back to their home countries. The NHL has one of the most heavily concentrated populations of foreign players among the major American sports leagues.
Here are other headlines surrounding the hockey world amid the outbreak:
Dallas’ Radulov tests negative for coronavirus:
The Stars took center stage in the post-cancellation hockey world when the team announced forward Alexander Radulov tested negative for COVID-19 last Friday. Radulov had missed several practices and the team’s last two games due to an illness.
“He’s feeling better,” Stars interim head coach Rick Bowness told the Dallas Morning News March 11. “Saw the doctors and feeling better, certainly not 100% after being in bed for four days.”
No word on Stanley Cup playoffs, league focused on preserving next season:
The Stanley Cup Playoffs were scheduled to start April 8, but obviously, will not start as planned. Last Sunday, the Center for Disease Control suggested banning any gatherings larger than 50 people through at least May 10.
As a response, the NHL is faced with the reality of pushing the playoffs back until then. Several responses have be rumored, including a 24-team bracket with elimination games. However, according to deputy commissioner Bill Daly, the only focus is on 2020-21. The NHL doesn’t want to play any less than 82 games next year.
“The only definite for us is we certainly don’t want to do anything around a resumption of play this season that will impact our ability to have a full season next year,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told The Athletic.
Two Ottawa Senators test positive for virus:
A second Ottawa Senators player tested positive for COVID-19 Saturday, according to a team release. The announcement comes after the team said a player had tested positive Tuesday. Ottawa is the only team in the league to announce players testing positive, but hasn’t disclosed either’s name.
A second #Sens player has tested positive for COVID-19. The player was part of the recent away trip that included games in San Jose, Anaheim and Los Angeles.
— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) March 21, 2020
52 players, coaches, media and other team staff were a part of the team’s recent road trip to San Jose, Los Angeles and Anaheim, California. Each one is currently self-quarantined, according to the team.
Around the world:
The 2020 IIHF World Championships were outright cancelled Sunday. Originally scheduled to be played in Switzerland, the cancellation comes right after the organization cancelled the women’s tournament, originally scheduled for March 31. The Memorial Cup, the championship series of the Canadian Hockey League, was originally scheduled for late May, but is currently in jeopardy. According to organizers, the series could be moved to June.
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