News: The Tampa Bay Lightning closed down their Amalie Arena facility today, the one being used for Phase 2 of the NHL’s Return to Play initiative for the 2020 NHL season, because of at least three players testing positive for the coronavirus, according to Bob McKenzie of TSN. The Tampa Bay Times has some more info. on it.
UPDATE AFTER PUBLISHING THIS: Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun dropped the bombshell just now that Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews tested positive, in Arizona and there are other unconfirmed reports that several Arizona Coyotes players just tested positive.
My view: This is really, really bad news for the hope of the NHL returning for a playoff. Formal training camps for NHL teams are supposed to start July 10. Three weeks. Now, we have to assume that these Lightning players will have to have a two-week quarantine, along with everyone else exposed to them, and….on and on this thing goes.
Word is, some other NHL players tested positive recently, with Arizona listed as to where it happened.
I don’t know, maybe I’m worrying too much about a 2020 NHL season resuming. But once the headlines from this thing start piling up everywhere, and maybe another team or two or three announces more positive cases to their players, it will just make the prospect of opening a real training camp – with all players skating next to each other, with coaches and support staff, etc, etc. – more of an iffy proposition. If things get pushed back even more because of that, I think we enter into the territory of:
Let’s just call the whole thing off.
I don’t do politics on this site. Not the place for it. I’m just so confused, though, reading the news about the virus. The curve is flattening. The curve isn’t flattening. We’re only having more positive tests because we’re testing a lot more. No, that’s not true, has nothing to do with that.
I just can’t keep up with it all. Everything just seems so inconsistent, from one day to the next.
The Avalanche Phase 2 “camp” is still open, at the Pepsi Center. Players confirmed to be skating daily there are Gabe Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon, Joonas Donskoi, Philipp Grubauer, Ian Cole, Matt Nieto and, now, Erik Johnson.
Let’s remember, though: the Avs were one of the first teams to reveal positive cases, to three players. Any new “outbreak” on the team will be taken very, very seriously.
It just kind of feels, to me, like it’s March 11 all over again. Cases are happening to NHL players again. Nobody knows how much it has – or will continue to – spread. Uncertainty is not what Gary Bettman and the NHL want. It has that feel of “Some other big shoe could drop at any moment.”
Like I said, I hope I’m just worrying over nothing about a 2020 NHL season resuming. But it doesn’t feel like it.