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Daily Scan: Healthy Flames can skate, more NHL games moved, Olympics unlikely

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The Calgary Flames opened the Saddledome up to any players who are not in the COVID protocol, which means Matthew Tkachuk and Blake Coleman could practice the Dishigan play from behind the net, while Michael Stone defends and Dan Vladar tends the twine. Meanwhile, the rest of the NHL saw more postponed games and NHL player participation at the Olympics in Beijing looks less and less likely.

At least there is some positive news for the Flames, who had positive cases for five consecutive days but none of the remaining players or staff members have joined protocol over the past three. There are still 19 players, three coaches and 10 staff members unavailable but will come out of the protocol after 10 days as long as they’re asymptomatic, so some could work out or skate before the official Christmas break begins.

So far, the Dec. 27 game against the Edmonton Oilers is on. But it’s tough to imagine the NHL forcing them to play without a practice for more than two weeks.

But the 2021-22 season is not in jeopardy, the NHL and NHLPA stated in a press release you can read fully here.

“We will continue to play the 2021-22 regular-season schedule. Although there has been a recent increase in positive COVID test results among players, coaches and staff, there have been a low number of positive cases that have resulted in concerning symptoms or serious illness.”

The Calgary Flames postponements include what would have been the first regular-season return for former captain Mark Giordano, and the Seattle Kraken this week.

NHL News, Trade Rumours and National Hockey Now

Sportsnet: More updates on the NHL’s current shutdown for certain teams from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

Sportsnet: Infectious disease specialist Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti says it is too early for the NHL to adopt the NFL’s less restrictive COVID-19 testing policies.

Montreal: Brendan Gallagher was personally “hit hard” by COVID-19 and is thankful that the he can finally rejoin his teammates.

TSN: St. Louis Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly states that he wants “to see no testing unless you have symptoms.

World Juniors: The 2022 IIHF World Junior Tournament, which features some Golden Knights prospects will have it’s pre-tournament schedule reduced due to COVID-19.

Florida: “You don’t want to be stuck in China,” Florida Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau said on the NHL’s decision to go to the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Vegas: Here is a happy story … sort of. Robin Lehner returned to Long Island for the first time since leaving the New York Islanders organization he credits with saving his mental health.

Buffalo: Remember the time the Calgary Flames were in on Jack Eichel. People got mad about Matthew Tkachuk being named, and then the Buffalo Sabres sent their injured star to Vegas instead anyway? Alex Tuch was supposed to make his debut with the Sabres! But… uh… they got shutdown too.

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