That didn’t take long. Approximately 24 hours after the NHL and NHLPA released a joint statement denying an NHL season pause, Sportsnet reporter-extraordinaire Elliotte Friedman is reporting via Twitter that the two sides will reconsider and pause the season on Wednesday through Dec. 25. The Pittsburgh Penguins and all teams will break for the holiday.
Update: Per a release from the NHL late Tuesday:
With no games currently scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 22, because of COVID-related postponements, the National Hockey League and National Hockey League Players’ Association have agreed to postpone the five games that remain scheduled on Thursday, Dec. 23, in order to begin the collectively-bargained Holiday Break effective with the conclusion of games tomorrow night, Dec. 21.
Under the revised schedule, Dec. 22, Dec. 23, Dec. 24 and Dec. 25 (Christmas Day) shall be off days for all purposes — including travel.
Players will report back to their Clubs on Dec. 26, which shall be used for testing, practice and/or travel only. Upon return from the Holiday Break to team facilities, no individual in the team’s Traveling Party shall enter the facility (other than for testing purposes) until they have a negative test result. Any practice scheduled for Dec. 26 must begin after 2:00 p.m. local time.
The League’s regular-season schedule will resume on Monday, Dec. 27.
Teams including the Penguins will report back to facilities on Dec. 26. The NHL schedule will resume on Dec. 27. However, Friedman followed his initial report with an update that per a memo from the league, all players and members of the team traveling party must test negative before re-entering the facilities.
The Penguins game against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday, Dec. 21 was postponed on Monday afternoon. The next game on the Penguins schedule is on Dec. 23 when they host the Philadelphia Flyers. However, should the season pause, that too would be postponed.
There was already a trending worry that NHL players would skip the Olympics due to Olympic and Chinese COVID protocols which could quarantine a player for as many as five weeks after a positive test.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have won seven in a row, even as COVID distractions and rumors have popped up.
National Hockey Now has independently confirmed the report via league sources.