Two more Flyers names were added to the NHL COVID-19 Protocol list on Thursday, bringing the team total to five players.
Jake Voracek and Morgan Frost (who is injured and out for the season) were added to the list, which the league publishes daily at around 5 p.m.
It’s not a surprise that the Flyers are seeing more names on the list, since the NHL put them on pause on Tuesday after Claude Giroux and Justin Braun were added. Travis Sanheim was the first name on the list on Sunday.
The Flyers have had four games already postponed because of COVID-19 outbreaks – both their own and one that saw as many as 19 players in the protocol for the New Jersey Devils.
The Flyers are still scheduled to resume practicing on Monday, but if more names get added to the protocol list over the weekend, that could be in danger of not happening. Also in danger is the Flyers next scheduled game – next Thursday, Feb. 18, against the New York Rangers at Wells Fargo Center.
Also starting to become in question is whether the Flyers will be able to participate in the outdoor game at Lake Tahoe on Sunday, Feb. 21.
As of now, that isn’t a major concern, although it should be noted that the NHL has back up teams they can send to Tahoe to replace any of the four teams that are scheduled to play if one or more can’t go because of COVID.
While the league hasn’t specifically announced those backup teams, the Pittsburgh Penguins, Buffalo Sabres and New York Islanders are all off on the 21st, however they all play on Saturday all the way across the country, If the league could juggle their schedules, one of them could replace the Flyers, or the Boston Bruins if they suddenly have an outbreak in the next week, if need be.
Another option would be to just reschedule the Flyers-Bruins as a regular game (in Boston, since it’s technically a Bruins home game) and send two other teams to play in Tahoe instead (The Rangers are scheduled to play the Washington Capitals that night).
As more and more names from around the league keep getting added to the protocol list, the league continues to try and be more and more strict with the ask they are making to the players and their families to try to curb these outbreaks.
NHL sent out enhanced COVID measures today, including: asking players remain at home as much as possible except for practices/games; recommending household members limit discretionary activities outside the home…
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) February 11, 2021
Additionally, the league has sent out guidance on how to reconfigure locker rooms to best protect those players who have not been infected by the virus yet and adding the use of KN95 masks and mandating that all meetings be virtual and not in the video room at the practice facility.
Frost was slated to have surgery on his injured shoulder last week in Colorado. It’s possible that he was only added to the list because of a different exposure than the one in the Flyers locker room. Players can also be put on that protocol list if they have long travel that is separate from the team.
However, it’s also possible that Frost was stopping by Skate Zone prior to the team heading to Washington to check in with the training staff.
As a reminder, just because a player is on the Covid protocol list, it does not mean they have tested positive for the virus.
From the NHL:
“’COVID Protocol Related Absences’ can be the result of a number of factors including, among others: (1) an initial positive test which remains unconfirmed until confirmatory testing is completed pursuant to the Positive Test Protocol; (2) mandated isolation for symptomatic individuals pursuant to the Positive Test Protocol; (3) required quarantine as a high-risk close contact in accordance with the Positive Test Protocol; (4) isolation based on a confirmed positive test result and/or; (5) quarantine for travel or other reasons as outlined in the COVID-19 Protocol.”
Additionally, while there may be instances in the NHL where players were careless or not taking the rules seriously, it should also be noted that players following all of the rules to the letter can still contract the virus. As such, without any knowledge of how a player was exposed to/caught the virus, it’s best to just chalk it up to living in the time of a global pandemic and not assign blame.
Of course, if it comes out that the players were all hanging out at someone’s condo watching Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel (It’s No. 1 on Netflix today, and besides, you think they’re watching Bridgerton?), then go nuts and lambaste them.
Otherwise, we’re all in this together. You. Me. Them.
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