The NHL postponed Wednesday’s game between the Detroit Red Wings and New York Islanders due to COVID-related issues, and also postponed nine games in Canadian cities due to attendance restrictions.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) December 28, 2021
Some of these games include an all-Canadian matchup between the Ottawa Senators and Winnipeg Jets on New Year’s Eve, and a rematch of last year’s first-round playoff series between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens on January 6.
In addition to the list of postponed matchups, a Jan. 12 clash between the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens, originally slated to be held in Montreal, has been moved to Boston’s TD Garden due to the restrictions levied by Quebec’s provincial government.
There are two ways to look at this: viewing these decisions charitably, the NHL is ostensibly acting in the interest of public safety. More cynically and realistically, the NHL is postponing games due to decreased revenue, and the league is likely making a calculated bet it can offset its losses if and when attendance restrictions are lifted.
For some Canadian teams, this looks like business as usual. Calgary has been out of action since Dec. 11, Toronto hasn’t played since Dec. 14, Montreal and Vancouver’s last game was on Dec. 16, Ottawa and Edmonton last played on Dec. 18, and Winnipeg’s most recent contest was on Dec. 19.
It’s not a particularly good look for the NHL, especially when the league found a safe way to conduct a return-to-play format within a bubble to conclude the 2019-20 season.
We’ll keep this post updated if and when more games are postponed.
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