Today has been a very interesting day in the National Hockey League as we’ve learned that the Tampa Bay Lightning has shut down their training facility due to five positive tests, and All Star Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs has been reported as testing positive per Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun. So the big question that needs to be asked now is this… Is it worth it?
Break Out in Tampa
First let’s start off in Tampa Bay where we learned that three players and two staff members have tested positive, and have been forced to shut down their training facility thus halting their Phase 2.
Now as noted by Bob McKenzie that with these tests that sometimes they can change after the fact. So while we have heard that five have tested positive, in a few days they could come back and say that really four tested positive as the fifth one could came back with a negative test. However, only time will tell on that.
Another concern is that while the teams are doing Phase 2 in their own home cities, the players and the staff are still exposed to the public as they go to and from the training facilities. However, when the Hub cities are officially announced, which looks to be Vegas and potentially Toronto, the protocols for the Hub cities for Phases 3 (training camp) and 4 (playing games) could be more restrictive to keep the players in staff in a bubble for their safety.
With Tampa’s statement today though we do need to applaud them as Florida (along with Arizona, Texas, and the Carolinas) is spiking heavily with positive COVID-19 tests as the state is not taking it seriously, and Tampa is coming out with the disappointed father statement of “please follow the CDC recommendations, you’re ruining it for everyone”, and it’s true.
Matthews Tests Positive
Now one of the other breaking news to come out of today was that Toronto Maple Leafs All Star Auston Matthews has tested positive for COVID-19.
Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun announced the news after getting it confirmed from two NHL sources outside of Toronto. Matthews, who has been staying in Arizona, had been training with members of the Arizona Coyotes who have also tested positive.
Questions arised about goaltender Frederik Andersen, who had been staying with Matthews in Arizona during Phase 1, but he has since returned to Toronto and has been confirmed to have tested as negative for the virus.
So this is huge because the NHL now has a confirmed superstar with COVID-19, and it begs the question once again. Is it worth it? Since the news broke the Toronto Maple Leafs released the following statement:
So the Leafs walked around it and didn’t discuss it at all. However, the NHL did place out the following statement right before 8p ET:
200 players have been tested and 11 have tested positive. 0.055% of the players tested have tested positive since Phase 2 has started. That’s very concerning, and I don’t see how the NHL in good faith continue with this charade. Only time will tell to see how the NHL will really respond as things continue to get worse in the country as we try to open back up.
Update 6/20/20 – Percentage of players testing positive has been updated because I can’t do math apparently.