NHL postpones two Sharks games this week over COVID travel issues

SAN JOSE — Two Sharks home games this week against Canadian-based teams were among 12 postponed by the NHL on Sunday as the league temporarily halted all cross-border travel between Monday and Thursday over increasing COVID-related concerns.

In a joint announcement Sunday with NHL Players’ Association, the league said all games between and American and Canadian-based teams between Monday and Thursday would be rescheduled.

The Sharks were slated to play the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday and the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday at SAP Center in their final two games before the Christmas break that runs between Dec. 24 and 26. San Jose’s next scheduled game is Dec. 27 in Anaheim against the Ducks.

Entering Sunday, the Canucks and Oilers had a combined 11 players and two coaches in the league’s COVID protocol. The Sharks, as of Sunday afternoon, did not have anyone in the league’s protocol.

A Sharks spokesman said anyone with tickets to either postponed game should hold onto them until the games have been rescheduled.

As of Sunday afternoon, 39 NHL games have been postponed as the Detroit Red Wings became the sixth NHL team to shut down their schedule until after Christmas. Boston and Nashville did the same on Saturday, joining Calgary, Colorado, and Florida in that regard.

Despite a sharp league-wide increase in positive COVID test results among players, coaches, and hockey staff, the joint announcement also stated that the 2021-22 regular-season schedule would continue.

The league and NHLPA said, “there have been a low number of positive cases that have resulted in concerning symptoms or serious illness. Therefore, the NHLPA’s and NHL’s medical experts have determined that, with virtually all Players and Club hockey staff fully vaccinated, the need to temporarily shut down individual teams should continue to be made on a case-by-case basis.”

The announcement about cross-border travel affects 12 games but the league, in its statement, did not say when the games would be rescheduled. Players or staff members who test positive for the coronavirus on the other side of the border face a potentially lengthy quarantine.

Before Sunday, 27 games had already been postponed.

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