NHL revises virus protocols; Colorado is 5th team shut down
New York Rangers coach David Quinn of the New York Rangers stands behind the bench during the team's NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021, in New York. (Bruce Bennett/Pool Photo via AP)The NHL revised its virus protocols in a bid to keep the shortened season on track, but not before a fifth team was idled by COVID-19 problems. Hours after the league announced changes visible in arenas and important behind the scenes, Colorado joined the growing list of U.S.-based teams shut down for virus concerns. Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog joined teammate Tyson Jost on the league's COVID-19 unavailable list Thursday. Bettman said fewer than half the players in protocol have been because of a confirmed positive test and many of those were asymptomatic.
'Sloppy' hockey is the name of the game early in NHL season
San Jose's Erik Karlsson (65) handles the puck against Minnesota Wild's Nick Bjugstad (27) in the third period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021, in St. Paul, Minn. San Jose won 5-3. (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)With an outbreak delaying the Dallas Stars' opener, Rick Bowness got to watch a lot of hockey in the first couple of nights of the NHL season. “It was entertaining hockey, but it was a little sloppy,” Bowness said. “We’re staying in 5-star hotels, get to play hockey, so I can’t complain,” defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic said. Ad___Follow AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno___More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Stars finally set for delayed opener after COVID positives
The Stars' return comes after 17 players tested positive for COVID-19, even though most were asymptomatic. Their first four scheduled games, all on the road and including an early Stanley Cup Final rematch with Tampa Bay, were postponed. “Right now, listen, we're all ready for a game,” Stars coach Rick Bowness said after practice Thursday at their home arena. Now the Stars are the last team to open the NHL's 56-game, division-only regular season. About 5,000 fans will be allowed for Stars games, well below the hockey capacity of 18,532, though the NBA's Dallas Mavericks are playing their home games there without fans.
Canes' season paused, while Caps play on without 4 regulars
For Peter Laviolette, his Washington Capitals will keep playing for the next week without four prominent players who broke the rules. There's no indication the Capitals are being shut down, though they will have to play the next four games without captain Alex Ovechkin, No. The NHL defers to local authorities, and the minimum four games for the Capitals players relates to the District of Columbia's quarantine regulations. The Hurricanes have so far had three games postponed because of their outbreak and won't play for at least a week. I think that’s really what we’re going to find out.”___AP Sports Writers Aaron Beard and Stephen Hawkins contributed.
Carolina-Nashville 1st NHL postponement since season started
The NHL did not specify which team prompted the postponement, though four Hurricanes players were added to the COVID-19 list Tuesday. The NHL already postponed the start of the Dallas Stars' season after six players and two staff members tested positive for the virus. Hurricanes players Warren Foegele, Jordan Martinook, Jaccob Slavin and Teuvo Teravainen joined captain Jordan Staal on the unavailable list because of COVID-19 protocols. The teams aren’t scheduled to play again in Nashville until the end of the season with back-to-back games on May 7-8. Now the Predators, who gave players Tuesday off after the postponement, are scheduled to visit Dallas on Friday night for the Stars' season opener.
Interim tag off Bowness month after Stars play in Cup final
The Stars are still Bowness' team. Dallas officially removed the interim tag Thursday and gave the 65-year-old Bowness a two-year contract, making him the franchise's 24th head coach, and ninth since moving to Dallas in 1993. Bowness was 20-13-5 after becoming their interim head coach. The Stars made it to the Stanley Cup final even while dealing with a plethora of significant injuries. That would have been a lot more interesting if we had been a healthy team,” Bowness said.
Bubble hockey champions: Tampa Bay Lightning win Stanley Cup
The triumph of winning the NHL championship in a bubble was certainly no less sweet for the Tampa Bay Lightning. He played 964 regular-season and 137 playoff games to get to this point, losing in the final twice before. Tampa Bay had Point and No. Coach Jon Cooper thought the attitude needed to change from wanting to beat every opponent 9-0 because that’s not realistic in playoff hockey. ... Alexander Volkov made his NHL playoff debut for Tampa Bay, which also saw Patrick Maroon become just the eighth player to win the Cup in back-to-back seasons with different teams (St. Louis).
Tampa Bay takes momentum into back-to-back Cup games
After consecutive games with three-goal periods, Tampa Bay has all of the momentum and a 2-1 series lead. Dallas' top line is without a goal against Tampa Bay. Tampa Bay then went ahead in Game 3 with two goals in an 85-second span before three goals in the second period of a 5-2 win. The NHL is playing Stanley Cup Final games on back-to-back nights for the first time since 2009, when Detroit won each of the first two games against Pittsburgh, which eventually won the series in seven games. In its only back-to-back this postseason, Tampa Bay won Games 2 and 3 in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs against Boston.
NHL's older coaches debate wearing masks, taking precautions
In this photo provided by the Dallas Stars NHL hockey team, interim head coach Rick Bowness watches practice in Frisco, Texas, Tuesday, July 14, 2020. You get out there and you miss it, the Dallas Stars coach said. You realize how much you enjoy being out there.The NHLs oldest head coach still worries about COVID-19 but not enough to stop doing his job. Im going to have to adjust to it, there is no question. The average age of the 24 head coaches in the playoffs is just under 54, the second-oldest behind the NBA among North Americas four major professional sports leagues.