The Detroit Red Wings were shut down by the NHL this afternoon, after Sam Gagner, Pius Suter, Joe Veleno and assistant coach Jeff Weintraub joined coach Jeff Blashill, assistant coach Alex Tanguay, Robby Fabbri, Alex Nedeljkovic, Michael Rasmussen, Carter Rowney, Givani Smith and Filip Zadina in COVID protocols.
The Red Wings’ Monday night game vs. Colorado was already to be rescheduled due to the Avs’ COVID outbreak, and now, the Wings won’t play the Minnesota Wild in St. Paul on Thursday, providing less risk to a team scheduled to host a Winter Classic on January 1st.
I’m not “happy” about this news, but I am relieved, significantly so, at the fact that a team which has 9 players and 3 coaches dealing with breakthrough COVID infections will be given time to recover from their illnesses.
This is a vicious virus, and in an environment where players are breathing hard because of exertion, sweating, drinking, spitting, bleeding, showering, eating, drinking, and generally spending extended periods of time in close contact, that’s a paradise for a virus spread by respiratory droplets.
Once half the team and the coach and assistant coaches are in protocol, the NHL and NHLPA had no choice but to act, a year after forcing the Red Wings to battle through one of the NHL’s first COVID outbreaks, and here’s wishing everyone involved a return to health over the course of the Christmas holiday.