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Dater Column: Jared Bednar sounds fed up with NHL Covid Policy

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You can’t blame Jared Bednar for what was the sound of extreme exasperation to his tone of voice after his Colorado Avalanche played the Nashville Predators Thursday night at Bridgestone Arena. And, not that it had a lot to do with his team’s 5-2 loss either.

Can somebody please explain the NHL’s Covid-19 policy a little clearer to this man – and to the rest of us? Right now, the whole thing is turning into one big clusterpuck again.

Honestly, this was like an NHL game hosted by the Three Stooges. Yesterday, Larry gave us updates on the Predators roster, with six guys suddenly on the Covid protocol list. In the morning, Curly gave us more updates on the Preds, with two more guys on the list and pretty much the rest of their entire coaching staff. Then, in the afternoon, Moe came in and declared four Avs guys ineligible – and pulled another guy, Jack Johnson, off the ice in the first period, then let him come back, after another Covid administrator had his/her say.

Nyuk, nyuk, nyyuk – the joke’s on you, paying customers.

Where to begin with this: Well, apparently, the Avs got word on Wednesday night that Andre Burakovsky tested positive, and that J.T. Compher tested positive Thursday morning. When Jared Bednar met with us media on Zoom at 3:30 mountain, that much was known to him and us, that those two wouldn’t play. OK, fine. The Preds already had eight guys declared ineligible, sacrificed to the protocol, so that’s the way it goes.

But then, right before the game, we all were told that Darcy Kuemper wouldn’t play, because of a positive test. Then, Cale Makar too. Bednar said players were all tested at 4:30 p.m., two and a half hours before puck drop.

Then, when Makar and Kuemper were in uniform, in the room and “ready to go” according to Bednar, he was told they wouldn’t be able to play. None of the four had any symptoms of the virus, he said. All were feeling great. But they couldn’t play.

Confused? Yeah, so is coach Bednar.

“We were getting guys pulled out of our room at 5, 5:30, 6, 6:30,” Bednar said. “We were all, basically, dressed when we were getting those results.”

For Bednar, this kind of last-minute thing is not cool. Let the debate rage as to whether some of the fittest people on the planet need to be tested all the time, whether they are symptomatic or not, but the results are the results.

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An NHL source told me tonight that the Avs actually had the option not to play the game if they didn’t want to. Why did the Avs have that option, and not the Predators? Because, the Predators actually had a fuller roster for the game, because of a passel of call-ups from their AHL club in Milwaukee. With the Avs losing four guys on the day of the game to Covid testing – and a three-hour flight, not including time to and from the airports – from their AHL club in Loveland, there was no way to get any more bodies to Nashville in time. There would have been cap problems anyway.

The NHL clearly has been caught with their pants down when it comes to a recurrence of the virus, in the Delta and Omicron variants. We all thought this thing was over when the vaccines came out and everybody (at least, on the Avs and throughout the league, except for Tyler Bertuzzi) got the jabs. No doubt the league brass is formulating new plans to adapt to the changed conditions (they need to allow for some of the same taxi squad/cap overage conditions of last year), but that is no comfort to the teams, players and fans who have had to witness a bad product the last week or two. The game probably should have been postponed here, but with the Avs already in town, what else was there to do but play a hockey game?

“I just said, ‘hey, what do you guys want to do? We were here to play a hockey game. They were short-handed too. We’d been prepared for this game for two days, so for us it really wasn’t much of an option,” Bednar said.

Maybe they should have declined.

The Avs, those on hand anyway, played a poor game. Pavel Francouz made his first start in a meaningful NHL game for the first time since the summer of…wait for it…2020, in the Covid bubble in Edmonton (I was there). While Frankie made some great saves in the game, he couldn’t overcome a leaky defense in front of him.

The league, in response to Omicron, has gone back to the stricter protocols of last year, when players and staff were tested every day. Otherwise this season, it had been every three days.

Everybody is super-frustrated by this again. Everybody has the vaccine in them, and nobody is seriously ill. So, why do players need to sit out when they have no symptoms and people like Dr. Fauci are saying it’s OK to be out and about if you’re vaccinated?

I’m not going to get into the politics of that. That’s not my job.

But it feels like we’re going to back to 2020 and the first four months or so of this year. And that’s a time travel experiment nobody wants, or expected, least of all a hockey coach with a damn good team who just wants to let them play.

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Adrian Dater - Kiss and Larry Bird fan. Writer with @Gambling and @Bookies, Avs Insider with 104.3 The Fan. Denver Post, SI, Bleacher Report alum, author of seven books.

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hockeyhead

I had a bad feeling about this game. After Toews and all of the Nashville players tested positive, it was predictable that more players/personnel would test positive. The Avs never should have left Denver. Now the question is how many more players and personnel will test positive? Covid is turning the NHL and other professional sports leagues into a shit show again. Tonight’s game was a total preseason game except the points counted. Filling out NHL line ups with AHL players on a regular basis is going to look really bad for the NHL. It was hard to watch the… Read more »

Matt Briggle

But Frankie played really well.

sjavsfan

A knee-jerk reaction is to get down on the Ava for not taking advantage of a weakened team, but with their own last-minute “substitutions”, they were at just as much a disadvantage. In the end it really was not fair for either team and the game should have been postponed long before we arrived here. I’m not holding my breath, but let’s hope the league learns from this moving forward.

Nick Chapman

Eventually the masses of sheeple will wake up to what’s really happening. Omicron and the other bull**** scary sounding names they keep inventing have a very specific purpose, with the newest purpose set to expire exactly November of 2022.

In the meantime, everyone wrap your faces in dirty cloths that trap your own CO2 waste against your face, inject yourselves with aborted fetal cells and heavy metals, and continue to worship in fear of a virus soo horrible and scary that you actually have to take a rigged test to find out if you have it. 😂😂

Joshua Canfield

I really do enjoy some good ole’ satire. Thanks for the laugh champ.

dk

Alex? Is that you??

Karl Keen

Snowflakes, sheeples, blah blah blah. I listen to scientists and doctors, but not news entertainment or message boards or random articles thrown into the abyss that is the internet. I think it is clear who the actual sheeples are.

We should just get rid of professionals I guess. Mechanics, doctors, lawyers, plumbers, accountants. What do they know right? Maybe the Avs should fire their coaches and the players just do what they want. Trainers, who needs them?!

Specialized knowledge means nothing anymore when the internet can you tell you what to believe!

Joshua Canfield

Alright troll. When somebody starts a sentence with, “snowflake” or “sheeple”.. I’m out. Done. Whatever helps you sleep at night.

Karl Keen

I do not think you understood my post. I was replying to the person who referred to apparently anyone who is concerned about Covid as a “sheeple.”

Karl Keen

With all that said, I promise this to be my last post on covid. I will just stick to hockey.

Joshua Canfield

Hockey good. COVID-19 bad.

Joshua Canfield

Gotcha, my bad. I definitely misinterpreted that post.

Jordan R Leonard

Karl was making fun of the people who say snowflakes and sheeple.

Aaron Hinton

Karl is a genius.

Karl Keen

I’m a “very stable genius.”

dk

The thing they don’t realize is that they’re all sheep too. We all just have different shepherds. Me? I’m a ‘sheeple’ because when I don’t know something I prefer to seek out someone who has the reputation of being an expert in that particular thing. Funny that…

My particular favorite is when somebody tells me, “do your own research.” Where to begin…

Nathan Edwards

Hey there I do agree with your sentiment minus some of the choice words. Plenty of doctors nurses will also tell you the facts from the front lines of this crap. Most would not even take the ineffective vaccines if they did not have a gun to their heads. Ahhh dahhh think about it for 2 secs will ya. Why do they have to bully the entire American population into taking a medicine most don’t want. Let me think, oh $$$$$ so the higher ups that be can make a new billionaire every 2 weeks whilst laughing down at us… Read more »

Joshua Canfield

You know what I have to say about that? It felt odd last night when the Avs didn’t light up have a five or six goal game. Like something was off. Three days ago, this tid bit from ESPN made us Avs fans proud. ‘The Avs recently had a three-game streak of scoring seven goals, the first team to do that since the 1995-96 Penguins. The Avalanche’s 79 goals in their past 15 games are the most in a 15-game span since the 1995-96 Penguins. Including shootout-deciding goals, the Avalanche have 109 this season, tied for second most in the… Read more »

Luke Waggoner

I know you don’t want to be particularly political AD. I’ll do it. Let’s start with omicron, as the collective world has it’s panties in a wad over a variant that has killed 1 (maybe), and spreads even faster than the delta variant. So, a variant that spreads quickly, and kills no one? Sounds like nature’s vaccine (except one that actually works. More on that in a minute). We were all reliably told that if we got the vaccine, we would be safe from covid and everything would be back to normal, right? Now, the CDC itself says that the… Read more »

The_Last_Ray_Gun

So much of this is false.

Joshua Canfield

Agreed. I don’t know where start. (seriously).

Luke Waggoner

It’s so easy to just say “You’re wrong”, and then say nothing else. Why not at least try to poke some holes in anything that I said?

Luke Waggoner

Easy to say, hard to back up. Put up or shut up.

Jordan R Leonard

I think my IQ dropped like 20 points from reading this

Luke Waggoner

Can you point to anything I said in there that’s factually inaccurate? If not, GTFO.

Joshua Canfield

I thought Francouz looked solid in net. There was one he really wanted back. All in all, he played with an AHL caliber defensive corps in front of him. That 5v3 impressed me.

ricoflashback

Where did they find Gross? The Avs would have done better with someone from the stands. Two stupid penalties and a very costly, brain dead penalty when the Avs closed the score to 3-2. That guy disgraced the uniform. Gross should be sent to Siberia or traded from the Avs organization immediately. He’s a classic “no hoper” Lastly, the Avs clearly played no defense last night regardless of the Covid situation. That’s the book on the Avs and it’s in their DNA. I don’t know how you change that.

dk

It’s clear that the NHL needs to have several things happen with their COVID “policy…”

1. Testing and results in a timely fashion to allow the teams to better prepare for an upcoming game. Maybe swab at night and get results in the morning?

2. Cap relief for teams who are suffering major roster shortcomings due to multiple positive tests.

3. Reinstatement of the ‘Taxi Squads.’

Yesterday I posted long before the game even began that this was a shitshow and the game should have been postponed. Looks like my story checks out.

Doug

AD, have you inquired as to whether the Avs have had the booster shot? Not sure if it would prevent asymptomatic test results but the booster (Pfizer at least) allegedly helps fend off Omicron.

Jim Strohmeier

Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Professor Dr. Marty Makary said there is “a pandemic of lunacy” over the Omicron variant, which he called, “omi-cold.” Because it’s a mild variant. Makary also argued that you can “find a virus particle in the nose of some fraction of Americans forever.” And “we can’t go hunting for a problem that is a very mild or asymptomatic illness.” Makary said, “Well, right now, what we’re seeing is this massive new wave of fear that is fueling our second pandemic after COVID-19, which is a pandemic of lunacy, which is Omicron. Now, I call it… Read more »

Dominic Morin

Vaccines reduce the risks of severe complications from the virus. It does not prevent you from getting the virus.

In Montréal and the rest of the province of Québec, we just went back to 50% capacity for all amphitheater, restaurants, movie theater, concerts shows and all other form of public gatherings. Smaller the crowds, smaller the propagation.

No gatherings of more than 10 people are allowed during the holidays in the province of Québec.

John Mauss

Hope it’s okay to make a comment on the actual “game” which, I agree, doesn’t merit much discussion. Agree with AD that Frankie looked good which is a very good thing. Also, anyone who didn’t understand how extremely important Makar and Tewes are to the Avs offense, both in scoring and starting the rush, should understand it now. I think they are more important than any of the forwards.

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