The NHL announced Dec. 20 that the 2021 regular season was a go and would begin Jan. 13.
The schedule, a 56-game condensed sprint to the Stanley Cup playoffs, was devised with the expectation that some games would have to be postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun: “The key word this season is ‘nimble.'” The rise in cases in the United States and Canada was expected, unfortunately, to impact games.
As mentioned before, the key word this season is `nimble.’ My guess is the schedule is going to change many times for several teams throughout the season in all likelihood because of positive tests. Get used to this. https://t.co/T3GklgInCk
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) January 8, 2021
On Jan. 8, that expectation came to fruition after the Stars announced six players and two staff members tested positive for the coronavirus. The team shut down its training facility as a precaution, and because the news came six days before the start of Dallas’ season, its first three games were postponed.
Also on Jan. 8, the Blue Jackets announced the same day that they “held a number of players out of” the team’s practice that day “out of an abundance of caution and in accordance with NHL COVID-19 protocols.” The team has not yet postponed any games.
NHL games impacted by COVID-19
|Date of game ppd.||Game||Reschedule date|
|Thu., Jan. 14||Stars at Panthers||Mon., Feb. 22|
|Fri., Jan. 15||Stars at Panthers||Mon., May 3|
|Sun., Jan. 17||Stars at Lightning||Tues., May 4|
|Tues., Jan. 19||Stars at Lightning||Mon., May 10|
|Tues., Jan. 19||Hurricanes at Predators*||Tues., March 2|
|Thurs., Jan. 21||Panthers at Hurricanes||Wed., Feb. 17|
|Sat., Jan. 23||Panthers at Hurricanes||Sun., March 7|
|Tues., Jan. 26||Lightning at Hurricanes||Mon., Feb. 22|
*Hurricanes at Predators was the first NHL game to be postponed on the day of.
Due to Dallas’ games being postponed in January, the following games were also impacted:
- Panthers at Red Wings, originally scheduled for Feb. 21, is now Sat., Feb. 20.
- Stars at Panthers, originally scheduled for Feb. 23, is now Wed., Feb. 24.
- Sabres at Penguins, originally scheduled for March 27, is now Fri., March 26.
- Bruins at Capitals, originally scheduled for April 11, is now Sat. April 10.
- Penguins at Sabres, originally scheduled for April 20, is now Mon., April 19.
- Panthers at Lightning, originally scheduled for May 4, is now Tues., March 16
After Carolina’s games were postponed in January, the following games were also switched:
- Blue Jackets at Hurricanes, originally scheduled for Feb. 16, is now Mon., Feb. 15.
- Panthers at Lightning, originally scheduled for Feb. 16, is now Mon., Feb. 15.
- Hurricanes at Lightning, originally scheduled for Feb. 22, is now Wed., Feb. 24