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Purple Wings shutdown by means of Christmas break after 4 extra enter COVID protocols

The Detroit Red Wings are the latest NHL team to be shut down after four more people in the organization entered COVID-19 protocols Sunday.

The NHL made the announcement after forwards Sam Gagner, Pius Suter and Joe Veleno, along with assistant video coach Jeff Weintraub, all were added to protocols. They join six other players and two other coaches who have entered protocols in recent days.

The Red Wings beat the New Jersey Devils at home Saturday night. The shutdown will only postpone one game so far — Dec. 23 against the Minnesota Wild — as a Dec. 20 game against the Colorado Avalanche had already been postponed due to an outbreak within that team.

On Sunday the NHL postponed 12 games from Dec. 20-23 that would have involved cross-border travel, which in turn shut down all seven Canadian teams until after the Christmas break. That came after five teams — the Panthers, Avalanche, Bruins, Predators and Flames — had already been shut down due to outbreaks.

More than 100 players have entered COVID protocols in the last week and 40 games — so far — have been postponed through Dec. 23. In a statement Sunday, the NHL said it intends to finish the regular season schedule despite the postponements, adding that a majority of the people who have tested positive for COVID-19 have not faced “concerning symptoms.”

“The NHLPA’s and NHL’s medical experts have determined that, with virtually all Players and Club hockey staff fully vaccinated, the need to temporarily shut down individual teams should continue to be made on a case-by-case basis,” the NHL’s statement. “The effects of recently introduced enhanced prevention and detection measures will be evaluated daily. The NHL and NHLPA, along with their medical experts, will be monitoring not only the number and pattern of positive COVID results, but also the depth of Club line-ups so as to ensure both the health and safety of the Players and the integrity of League competition.”



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