The NHL is shutting down for Christmas two days early.
The league is set to postpone its remaining five matchups on Thursday, extending the break that was initially supposed to start after the Golden Knights face the Kings on Thursday night.
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All team facilities are shutting down from Wednesday through Saturday in an effort to combat the recent wave of COVID-19. Players are slated to return to facilities on Sunday for daily testing, and the league plans on resuming the schedule on Dec. 27. As of Monday night, 15 percent of NHL players are in COVID-19 protocols, per ESPN’s Emily Kaplan.
The latest outbreak has caused the closure of 10 NHL team facilities, and postponed 44 games in the past two weeks. Including games that were moved on Wednesday, 49 total matchups have been postponed in the 2021-22 season. The league also recently introduced stricter COVID-19 protocols in an attempt to slow down the outbreak.
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However, the NHL reportedly has a plan in place for the postponed games. Reports reveal that the NHL will use the February break initially scheduled for the Olympics to reschedule the games postponed throughout the season, according to Bally Sports Midwest’s Andy Strickland. The league is expected to issue a final decision on the league’s participation in the 2022 Beijing Olympics within the next week.
After the Wild finish their matchup in Dallas on Monday night, two games remain on the league’s schedule ahead of the shutdown. The Capitals are scheduled to face the Flyers in Philadelphia and the Golden Knights will host the Lightning on Tuesday night.