Columbus-Buffalo becomes 41st NHL game postponed this season


The Columbus Blue Jackets' game at the Buffalo Sabres scheduled for Monday night has been postponed, a person with direct knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the NHL had not yet announced the postponement.

A total of 41 NHL games have been postponed this season because of coronavirus-related reasons.

The Blue Jackets canceled their morning skate while awaiting COVID-19 test results after calling off practice Sunday. It was not immediately clear if the Blue Jackets’ next game at home against Buffalo later this week would also be postponed or if the team’s activities were paused through the holiday break.

Seven other NHL teams have been shut down as positive test results have risen across the league. The Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs were added to that list Sunday, joining the Colorado Avalanche, Florida Panthers, Calgary Flames, Nashville Predators and Boston Bruins.

The league and NHL Players' Association said Sunday the plan was to avoid a full league shutdown, pausing team activities on a case-by-case basis and postponing all cross-border games through Thursday. The Christmas break begins Friday and runs through Sunday, with games scheduled to resume next Monday.

“We will continue to play the 2021-22 regular season schedule,” the NHL and NHLPA said Sunday in a joint statement. “Although there has been a recent increase in positive COVID test results among players, coaches and hockey staff, there have been a low number of positive cases that have resulted in concerning symptoms or serious illness.”

Much about the omicron coronavirus variant remains unknown, including whether it causes more or less severe illness. Scientists say omicron spreads even easier than other coronavirus strains, including delta, and it is expected to become dominant in the U.S. by early next year. Early studies suggest the vaccinated will need a booster shot for the best chance at preventing an omicron infection but even without the extra dose, vaccination still should offer strong protection against severe illness and death.


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