The Pittsburgh Penguins and others will have less positive COVID tests in the second half of the NHL season. On Monday evening, the NHL and NHLPA officially relaxed COVID testing requirements for players and close contacts. The new rules will take effect after each team breaks for this weekend’s All-Star Game.
The league and players union will return to the looser protocols, which were in effect at the beginning of the season. The “advanced measures” will cease. Players will no longer test daily for asymptomatic players who are also vaccinated.
The NHL officially recommends players receive the booster shot, but it is not mandated.
Players and team personnel will only be tested “for cause” after the ASG. Also, close contacts of players will no longer have to undergo testing. Without citing specifics, the NHL and NHLPA also updated the types of masks required at the arena and steps to limit community exposure.
The updated policies also affect on-ice ceremonies and family spaces at the arena.
Like most teams, the Pittsburgh Penguins have been affected by COVID. Most of the roster has been in the COVID protocol, from top center Sidney Crosby to goalie Tristan Jarry. Beginning with Zach Aston-Reese in training camp and most recently Danton Heinen on Jan. 11, a total of 17 Penguins have entered the protocol.
Head coach Mike Sullivan was also placed in the protocol for 10 days earlier this season.
The Penguins’ final game before the week-long All-Star break is Tuesday against the Washington Capitals at PPG Paints Arena.