The COVID-19 breach in the Buffalo Sabres camp has impacted their head coach.
It was announced Thursday that Ralph Krueger, 61, has tested positive for the coronavirus and entered the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol, joining four other players.
Buffalo has had its games postponed through Feb. 8 as a result of positive tests discovered.
The Sabres had back-to-back games before the calendar turned to February against the New Jersey Devils, who have now had 17 players enter the league’s COVID-19 system.
So far upwards of 90 players across the league have been on or are currently on the restricted list.
According to The Athletic's John Vogl, the Sabres are “furious” with the NHL after requesting more information from the Devils and the league before their scheduled game last Saturday. Without being provided sufficient information, the game went forward and the Sabres took on what they consider an unnecessary and forced risk.
The following day it was revealed that 10 players they just competed against were transferred to the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol.
The organization believes its exposure to the virus was avoidable.
NHL makes changes to COVID-19 safety measures
The NHL announced protocol changes in response to the increasing numbers of players and coaches seeing exposure to the virus, though none of which that would have prevented the presumed spread between the Devils and Sabres across last weekend’s two-game set.
The league is removing the glass behind the benches in an effort to encourage air flow, beginning Thursday. Players have also been told they can’t arrive at the arena more than one hour and 45 minutes before games unless they are receiving treatment.
The latter tweak has left at least one player considerably aggrieved. Andrew Copp of the Winnipeg Jets provided this detailed response when asked about the changes to arrival time.
This from Jets NHLPA rep Andrew Copp to Winnipeg reporters on protocols, specifically players not being able to arrive until 1:45 before game time. pic.twitter.com/gC00uxtaih
— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) February 4, 2021
While Copp’s argument does make sense, perhaps the NHL’s changes do have merit. But the league’s best move would be to eliminate unneeded risk, or at least advise teams appropriately when there is legitimate reason for concern.
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