Hextall on Hockey: COVID-19 a new reality for NHL – Winnipeg

The NHL doesn’t live in a bubble anymore. Instead, the 2020-21 season will exist in the real world, and sadly, reality bites.

The season has yet to start and already the league has been forced to postpone three games after the Dallas Stars had six players and two staff members test positive for COVID-19.

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The Columbus Blue Jackets and Vancouver Canucks both had to hold players out or cancel practice in an abundance of caution over a possible COVID-19 exposure.

As the NHL’s 56-game regular-season schedule skates into action you can expect your smartphone to continue to receive alerts, with COVID-19 as the common theme.

But before one surrenders to the negative narrative that the NHL season will never finish, let’s review how other major professional sports have fared not playing in a bubble.

Read more:
Hextall on Hockey — Keeping Canadian fans engaged a boon for NHL

Major League Soccer completed 97 per cent of its regular-season matches, while the NFL completed 100 per cent of regular-season games in the current season.

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Yes, outings were postponed, star players were held out of games — but that’s the reality of the situation.

The NBA started its regular season three weeks ago, and there’s already been a reported conference call between the NBA’s general managers. Guess what the topic was?

As NBA rosters thin and the number of games postponed add up, the league has stated it has no plans to pause its season as it anticipated this exact scenario.

I expect the NHL’s mentality will be the same as the league skates into its season.

Which means the most impactful player in hockey this season wears No. 19, name starts with “C” and will be one to watch on a nightly basis.


Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Manitoba health restrictions extended for 2 weeks, exemption made for professional hockey'







Coronavirus: Manitoba health restrictions extended for 2 weeks, exemption made for professional hockey


Coronavirus: Manitoba health restrictions extended for 2 weeks, exemption made for professional hockey




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