As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, the Buffalo Sabres have had their season affected by the virus yet again.
The NHL announced yesterday evening that Sabres games have been postponed at least through February 8. That means, as of now, four road games (two against the Islanders and two against the Bruins) will be made up at a later date.
Here's what you need to know.
2 players enter NHL's COVID protocols
Sabres forward Taylor Hall and defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen were added to the NHL's list of players who were unavailable to play or practice on Tuesday, in accordance with the League's COVID Protocols.
As a result of those two players entering the NHL's COVID Protocols, the NHL announced yesterday that Sabres games have been postponed at least through Monday. The team's training facilities have been closed, effective immediately, and will remain closed until further notice.
The decision was made by the League's, NHLPA's and Club's medical groups, who determined that more caution was warranted while the League continues to analyze test results in the coming days.
The Buffalo Sabres issued the following statement:
Sabres players and staff have been closely following and will continue to follow the COVID protocols as outlined by the NHL and the team's medical staff. Our organization will continue to work with the league and our medical team to ensure the health and safety of our players and staff.
Buffalo practiced on Monday in preparation of Tuesday's game on Long Island. However, due to inclement weather downstate, the team decided to leave Tuesday morning as opposed to traveling after practice Monday afternoon like they normally would.
The NHL announced at around 10:30 a.m. that they would be re-scheduling Tuesday's game "so that required COVID contact tracing and testing protocols can be completed appropriately." The news of the additional postponements came at around 5:30 p.m.
More on the COVID protocols
Thirty-one players are currently in the League's COVID protocols.
Five New Jersey Devils players were added to the list Tuesday, bringing the team's total number of players in protocol to 14. The Sabres played New Jersey on Saturday and Sunday at KeyBank Center. The NHL announced Monday that the Devils would have their games postponed at least through Saturday.
The NHL is sharing the names of players who are "unavailable" to the Club (to practice, travel or play in games) due to COVID protocols this season.
Such "COVID Protocol Related Absences" can be the result of a number of factors including, among others:
(1) an initial positive test which remains unconfirmed until confirmatory testing is completed pursuant to the Positive Test Protocol;
(2) mandated isolation for symptomatic individuals pursuant to the Positive Test Protocol;
(3) required quarantine as a high-risk close contact in accordance with the Positive Test Protocol;
(4) isolation based on a confirmed positive test result and/or;
(5) quarantine for travel or other reasons as outlined in the COVID-19 Protocol.
No additional detail will be provided either by the League or the Club, including the precise reason the player is unavailable or how long he might be out.
The list is updated and released daily by the NHL.
The NHL is currently in the process of reviewing and revising the Sabres' regular season schedule and it is expected that a decision on next week's games will be made in the coming days.
Sixteen NHL games have been postponed since the season began, with two others postponed prior to the start.
For now, the Sabres are unable to play or practice together until at least Monday. Buffalo's next scheduled game is Thursday, February 11 on home ice against the Washington Capitals.
Stay tuned to Sabres.com, the team's official social media platforms and the official Sabres app for breaking news, as well as any updates pertaining to the 2020-21 season.