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NHL COVID news: Senators game postponed, Matthews tests positive

NHL COVID news: Senators game postponed, Matthews tests positive

TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 1: Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs battles for the puck against Artem Zub #2 of the Ottawa Senators during the third period at the Scotiabank Arena on January 1, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Andrew Lahodynskyj/NHLI via Getty Images)

NHLI via Getty Images

It’s a new year, but COVID problems haven’t totally slowed down for the NHL. Here’s a collection of NHL COVID news, from Auston Matthews to the Ottawa Senators and Florida Panthers.

Senators - Kraken become 92nd postponed NHL game as Sens’ COVID issues pile up

As the list of Senators in NHL COVID protocol swells, the team’s schedule continues to get disrupted. The Senators already saw Monday’s game against the Wild postponed, and now Thursday’s game against the Kraken has also been postponed.

When you consider how many Senators are in NHL COVID protocol, postponed games shouldn’t be too big of a surprise. On Monday, Thomas Chabot, Zach Sanford, Chris Tierney, and assistant coach Bob Jones joined that growing list. The Senators added Nick Paul, Jacob Bernard-Docker, and Dillon Heatherington to a list that already included Josh Norris and Tyler Ennis.

If the Senators don’t have any other games postponed due to NHL COVID protocol, here’s what their schedule would look like lately:

  • Saturday, Dec. 18: 4-3 OT loss to the Flyers, Ottawa’s last game of the 2021 calendar year.
  • Saturday, Jan. 1: 6-0 loss to the Maple Leafs.
  • Saturday, Jan. 8: a scheduled road game against the Canucks -- if that goes to plan.

If you’re like me, you can’t help but wonder if at least some portion of that 9-18-2 Senators team secretly dreams of forfeits.

Maple Leafs wait on second COVID test after Matthews tests positive

The Maple Leafs held Auston Matthews (and assistant Dean Chynoweth) out of Monday’s practice after they tested positive for COVID-19. Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said the team is awaiting a PCR test for Matthews to see if that was a false positive.

Those test results are expected by Tuesday morning.

For what it’s worth, Matthews and the Maple Leafs faced the Senators on Saturday (Jan. 1), and Chabot, Sanford, and Tierney dressed for the Senators in that game.

More NHL COVID news: Multiple Panthers enter protocol; Stars hope to resume

Here are even more NHL COVID news and notes.

  • The Panthers added Sam Reinhart and Mason Marchment to NHL COVID protocol on Monday, while assistant coach Tuomo Ruutu was also added. Assuming the Panthers play on Tuesday as scheduled, it could be a challenge. They’ll lack those two players due to COVID protocol, Sam Bennett will start a three-game suspension, and Carter Verhaeghe is injured.

“We’re very fortunate to have a lot of depth,” Panthers interim coach Andrew Brunette said, via George Richards. “It is someone else’s turn to step up and do the job for us.”

  • Other players who entered NHL COVID protocol on Monday included: Zach Werenski (Blue Jackets), Kyle Okposo (Sabres), and Casey Fitzgerald (Sabres).
  • Meanwhile, the Dallas Stars hope to resume their schedule Thursday against (gulp) the Panthers. A bunch of Stars were removed from NHL COVID protocol, including Miro Heiskanen, Roope Hintz, and Ryan Suter.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.