Both the Dallas Stars and Columbus Blue Jackets are facing COVID-19 issues Friday and have either canceled or held players out of practice. This seems to be the first instance of what could become a regularity this season as the NHL tries to navigate the current public health situation.
Saad Yousuf of The Athletic reported Friday morning that the Stars have canceled practice and media availability for Friday, confirming with colleague Sean Shapiro that it is COVID-19-related. Yousuf is reporting that at least one Stars player has tested positive. The team has not released an official statement and all communication is expected to come directly from the league.
In Columbus, the team did issue a press release, though it is not very informative. It reads:
The Columbus Blue Jackets have held a number of players out of today’s scheduled practice out of an abundance of caution and in accordance with NHL Covid-19 protocols.
The team has also completely canceled practice for their second group that was scheduled for this afternoon. Important to note, the Blue Jackets do have Max Domi on the team, who is a Type 1 diabetic and considered opting out of the summer restart at one point because of the COVID-19 concerns. At this point, it seems unlikely that Columbus will provide any additional information, but Aaron Portzline of The Athletic tweets the long list of players (including Domi) that are missing from practice.
Though it’s hard to think about, situations like this are bound to pop up throughout the year as the league continues to travel and even in some situations host fans. Still, missing any of the already very short training camps will be detrimental as teams try to prepare for the grind of the regular season.