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Saturday Flames game postponed as 17 more in organization added to COVID protocol

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Calgary Flames Johnny Gaudreau

It’s quicker to name the Calgary Flames players NOT in the COVID protocol at the moment. There are only four forwards, two defencemen and a goalie remaining.

Mikael Backlund centres Blake Coleman and Matthew Tkachuk, with Oliver Kylington and Michael Stone anchoring the blue line. In goal, it’s Dan Vladar. Dillon Dube is the only spare forward.

For now, anyway. With multiple positives emerging for three straight days, who knows what tomorrow brings. On Wednesday, seven players, three coaches and seven members of the team’s support staff were all added to the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list.

The NHL announced that Saturday’s contest against the Columbus Blue Jackets will not take place. Four Calgary Flames games have been postponed. With an impossible salary-cap situation, and so few bodies, the Flames could see even more games moved next week. There are 16 Flames players in protocol. It’s a 23-man roster.

Noah Hanifin, Milan Lucic and Sean Monahan were added to the list on Tuesday. Elias Lindholm, Andrew Mangiapane, Brad Richardson, Adam Ruzicka, Chris Tanev, Nikita Zadorov and a member of the training staff were added Monday.

Problem plaguing sports across North America

And the Flames aren’t alone. As mentioned on Tuesday, the Calgary Flames’ last opponent is one of many NHL teams dealing with multiple positives. Bruins centre Patrice Bergeron was added to the league’s protocol list on Wednesday. He joined teammate Brad Marchand.

More than 130 NHL players have been on the protocol list this season, but more than two dozen of them have come just in the last two days.

Multiple NBA teams have gone with reduced lineups, while the Ontario Hockey League’s Erie Otters suspended activities Wednesday when 13 players tested positive for COVID-19.

It’s an evolving situation, for the Calgary Flames, and for the entire sporting world. Everyone is awaiting more decisions from the NHL and other leagues as to how to proceed. It all puts even more doubt on the minds of so many when it comes to the participation of NHL players at the Olympics in Beijing this winter.

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