Bruins, Predators Shut Down by NHL Through Holiday Break amid Covid-19 Issues

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVDecember 18, 2021

Karl Taylor, coach of the Nashville affiliate the Milwaukee Admirals, coaches the Nashville Predators against the Colorado Avalanche during the third period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
AP Photo/Mark Zaleski

The Nashville Predators and Boston Bruins became the fourth and fifth NHL teams to be shut down through the holiday break Saturday due to COVID-19 issues.

NHL Public Relations @PR_NHL

SCHEDULE UPDATE: <a href="https://twitter.com/NHLBruins?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NHLBruins</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/PredsNHL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@PredsNHL</a> shut down through Holiday Break; three additional games also postponed.<br><br>Details: <a href="https://t.co/NrfDn0VdNy">https://t.co/NrfDn0VdNy</a> <a href="https://t.co/unKlyrNCip">pic.twitter.com/unKlyrNCip</a>

The clubs join the Colorado Avalanche, Calgary Flames and Florida Panthers as teams that have been shut down this week.

Nashville has seen several players and coaches placed in COVID-19 protocols this week, and its scheduled game against the Flames on Tuesday was postponed due to Calgary's COVID-19 issues.

Per Paul Skrbina of the Tennessean, a total of 11 Predators players and coaches had been placed in COVID protocols as of Thursday.

Among them were forwards Ryan Johansen, Mikael Granlund, Matt Luff, Michael McCarron, Philip Tomasino and Nick Cousins, defenseman Ben Harpur and head coach John Hynes.

Nashville did play Thursday and Friday, beating the Avalanche 5-2 and then defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 in overtime.

The Preds are in the midst of a seven-game winning streak and are 19-10-1 overall on the season.

Their 39 points are second to only the Minnesota Wild's 40 in the Central Division, and they are tied for third overall in the Western Conference with the St. Louis Blues behind the Wild and Anaheim Ducks.

With each of their next two games postponed, the Predators are not scheduled to play again until Dec. 27 against the Dallas Stars on the road.

As of Thursday, the Bruins had placed seven players and one staffer into COVID-19 protocols.

Forwards Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, Craig Smith and goalie Jeremy Swayman headlined the list of players unavailable to the Bruins. They were joined by forwards Trent Frederic, Anton Blidh and Oskar Steen.

A shorthanded Bruins team fell 3-1 to the New York Islanders on Thursday, and their scheduled game against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday was subsequently postponed.

Next Thursday's game against the Avalanche was also postponed due to an outbreak within the Avs organization.

Boston's shutdown means it won't play Sunday against the Ottawa Senators nor Tuesday against the Hurricanes.

The Bruins, who have lost two games in a row, are in fifth place in the Eastern Conference's Atlantic Division with 30 points. They are in ninth place in the conference overall, leaving them outside the playoff positions.

Boston's next scheduled game is now a home tilt with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Dec. 27.