- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 9, 2021

The Washington Capitals game scheduled for Tuesday night against the Flyers has been postponed due to a coronavirus-related issue within Philadelphia’s camp, the latest adjustment a month into an NHL season facing significant hurdles due to the pandemic.

The Flyers had an additional player enter the league’s coronavirus protocol Tuesday. The NHL’s updated coronavirus protocol list is updated nightly, so for the time being the lone Philadelphia player listed is defenseman Travis Sanheim.

“As a result of a second Philadelphia Flyers Player entering the NHL’s COVID Protocols earlier today, the team’s game tonight against the Washington Capitals will be postponed,” a release read. “The decision was made by the League’s, NHLPA’s and Club’s medical groups out of an abundance of caution while the League continues to analyze test results in the coming days.”

Sanheim entered the protocols before Sunday’s 7-4 win against the Capitals. The league said in a statement Sunday night that all Flyers players, coaches and staffers received a point-of-care test prior to puck drop.

“After all tests returned negative, the league’s, NHLPA’s and clubs’ medical groups determined that it was appropriate to play the game,” the NHL’s statement read.

Across the league, coronavirus outbreaks have led to significant schedule adjustments. Washington is next scheduled to play Sunday against the Pittsburgh Penguins because the Thursday and Saturday games against the Buffalo Sabres had already been postponed.

The Sabres have nine players on the league’s protocol list, as of Monday night. The New Jersey Devils have 19 players on the list, and the Minnesota Wild have another 11 players. The Colorado Avalanche have three players listed. All four of those teams have games postponed. 

Being on the protocol list does not guarantee a player tested positive for the coronavirus. Players could be deemed close contacts, for instance.

The Capitals have already dealt with coronavirus issues this season. They were fined $100,000 for breaching protocols during their season-opening road trip, when Alex Ovechkin, Ilya Samsonov, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov hung out in a hotel room together without a mask.

Those four players entered the coronavirus protocols Jan. 20 after a positive test, and while Ovechkin and Orlov have already returned and played games, Samsonov and Kuznetsov remained on the list until Monday. Both players said they had symptoms.

The lone Washington player left on the protocol list is winger Jakub Vrana, who was added Saturday. It remains to be seen if there is any fallout from Sunday’s contest against the Flyers.

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