new York The corona pandemic is once again confronting US sport with major problems. In the professional leagues NBA, NFL and NHL positive tests are piling up. Some teams are no longer allowed to train, games are canceled. That endangers the flow in the leagues.
The American top professional leagues in ice hockey, basketball and football are getting into ever greater difficulties due to the rapidly growing number of positive corona tests. And this despite the fact that the vaccination rate in the US leagues is significantly higher than that of the rest of the US population. According to the NBA, 97 percent of all basketball professionals have been vaccinated twice, around 60 percent have already received a booster vaccination. As of November 30th, 94.5 percent of all NFL professionals were vaccinated, and the rate for other National Football League staff is said to be almost 100 percent. In the NHL, only four professionals were not vaccinated at the start of the season in October. In the United States, the nationwide vaccination rate is currently around 61 percent.
On Tuesday, the NHL game between the Carolina Hurricanes and Minnesota Wild had to be canceled after four other ice hockey players of the “Canes” had been included in the corona protocol.
The Calgary Flames’ games had previously been suspended until the end of the week after there were several corona cases among the players in connection with the game against the Boston Bruins on Saturday. Bruins pros Brad Marchand and Craig Smith were also included in the Covid protocol on Tuesday, putting Boston’s upcoming games at risk as well.
Since other teams such as the New York Islanders (Mathew Barzal) and Colorado Avalanche (Devon Toews) were also dropped on Tuesday in connection with Corona, further encounters are threatened with dismissal. The number of postponed NHL games this season is currently ten. A catch-up date has to be found for eight encounters. If too many encounters are canceled, this could have an impact on the Olympic break and put the participation of the NHL stars in the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing at risk.
Because of the unclear quarantine rules in the event of a positive test in China with possibly up to five weeks in the country before the journey home, the skepticism of some NHL stars is growing anyway. “There’s a lot going on. There are things that still need to be discussed and, hopefully, answered so that everyone feels as good as possible about sending the best NHL players to the Olympics, ”said American Ice Hockey Federation General Manager Pat Kelleher.
Connor McDavid, with his teammate Leon Draisaitl at the Edmonton Oilers currently the most dangerous attacker in the NHL, said: “I’m still the guy who wants to go to the Olympics, of course, but we also want to make sure it’s safe for everyone, for all athletes and not just for ice hockey players. “
According to the AP news agency, more than 140 NHL professionals were on the Corona list during the season. More than two dozen have been added in the past two days.
The NBA basketball league and the NFL football league are also being overwhelmed by the corona wave. The Los Angeles Lakers had to cancel their training on Tuesday after basketball player Talen Horton-Tucker tested positive. With the top Eastern team Brooklyn Nets, five players got into the corona protocol and are out for the time being, including the former all stars LaMarcus Aldridge and Paul Milsapp.
The NBA had to cancel two games of the Chicago Bulls this week because the team had too few usable players. The Brooklyn Nets played at 131: 129 after extra time on Tuesday with the minimum of eight basketball players eligible to play after superstar James Harden, among others, had to enter the league’s health and safety protocol. Of the more than 30 players who tested positive, 17 were either in the Bulls or the Nets roster. US media reported that the league is now considering mandatory booster vaccinations for coaches and staff.
In the NFL, where the decisive phase of the season in the battle for play-off places is currently underway, the Cleveland Browns put eight players on the corona list. According to the AP news agency, a total of 88 people were on the Corona list in the National Football League (NFL) on Monday and Tuesday alone, including Odell Beckham Jr. from the Los Angeles Rams. The Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield and his head coach Kevin Stefanski followed on Wednesday. Several teams are no longer allowed to come together on the training grounds.
The Canadian province of Ontario, which is home to the Toronto Raptors with basketball national player Isaac Bonga and the NHL teams of the Ottawa Senators around ice hockey national player Tim Stützle and the Toronto Maples Leafs, enacted a capacity limit of 50 percent for large gatherings such as Professional sporting events.
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