The city of Detroit, Michigan — The Red Wings had to wait a little longer on Tuesday to play another game of hockey.
Wings general manager Steve Yzerman called coach Jeff Blashill just before practice to inform him that the Wings’ game against the New York Islanders had been postponed.
The COVID-19 protocol difficulties continue to be fluid for both sides, with players coming and going off the list.
They haven’t played since Dec. 18, so the Detroit Red Wings’ New Year’s Eve game against the Washington Capitals at Little Caesars Arena is suddenly the team’s focus.
Goalkeeper Alex Nedeljkovic, who returned to practice on Tuesday after spending time on the protocol list, said, “It’s sad.” In the current state of affairs, “we’d rather just play games.”
Despite a depleted roster, the Wings were clearly in game mode.
As they wait for the results of more COVID tests and the potential for additional players to be approved, they arranged a Tuesday afternoon practice. They had a scheduled 5 p.m. flight to New York and hoped to arrive at the hotel and play on Wednesday night. “
On the other hand, the Islanders had another five positive COVID tests on Tuesday, following up Monday’s results. The Detroit Red Wings now face Colorado, the Colorado Avalanche, the New York Islanders, and the Minnesota Wild in their next four games of the season.
The postponement left Blashill “disappointed,” he said. Despite the relief I feel for the players who would have been unable to participate in the game, I still want to play and get things started. All of us are eager to get back into the game.
“However, we all recognize that these are difficult times and that we must persevere.”
Wings forward Lucas Raymond and defender Nick Leddy are the only players on the roster who may not be able to play on Friday. Protocols for both are nearing the end of their allotted time.
On Tuesday, the Wings welcomed back Nedeljkovic and attacker Filip Zadina. It will be possible for Jordan Oesterle and Adam Erne as well as Sam Gagner and Joe Veleno to practice during the next 48 hours.
Tuesday’s practice was better than Monday’s, according to Blashill, because more people were able to skate and players were able to reestablish their timing.
According to Nedeljkovic, the rest of his teammates simply want to get back in the game.
Nedeljkovic said, “It felt fantastic on the rink.” “Considering that we were short-staffed, the pace was quite good. Everyone wants to get into a groove and play some games,” he said.
On his return to the rink for the first time since December 16, Nedeljkovic stated he was surprised by how well he was feeling. For the most part, he was on the protocol list and could have played.
“It was just a stuffy nose, and the day after that, I think I was a little weary” (testing positive). Nedeljkovic, on the other hand, has played through worse in juniors and the last several years in the professionals. It’s not uncommon for professional athletes to wake up aching or sore, but they’re able to grind through it. Apart from that one day, I experienced very minimal symptoms and was in good health.”
According to a story published on Tuesday, the NHL and its players’ union have discussed the updated CDC COVID rules and the possibility of shortening the existing 10-day quarantine period to five days.
With seven Canadian-based clubs in the NHL, it’s expected any prospective adjustments would be difficult to accomplish.
The NBA and NFL have already implemented new policies, including tighter quarantines and more frequent inspections. The NHL may follow suit.
According to Nedeljkovic, “it’s unusual, especially with this variant now,” the men aren’t getting sick at all. Why are we testing? You wouldn’t know it if you weren’t.” It’s not uncommon to see men in the locker room with runny noses, plugged nostrils, and coughs when they’ve just had the flu. Everyone just stares at you while you go about your business.
“But because we’re testing, we don’t display any symptoms, and we have to go home and kind of wait about for 10 days, and it doesn’t make sense. With the CDC suggesting you just need five days to quarantine, maybe the league takes a closer look at it.”