After Travis Zajac and Kyle Palmieri went into the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols on January 30th, before playing the Buffalo Sabres, four more Devils players landed on the COVID-19 list on February 1st. This prompted the NHL to postpone Tuesday’s scheduled road game against the Pittsburgh Penguins and more.
The NHL postponed the Devils’ games through at least Feb 6. The Devils planned to play the Penguins on Tuesday and Thursday before hosting the Rangers on Saturday.
How the Sabres Responded
John Vogl, a writer for the Buffalo Sabres, reported that the Sabres are “furious” about the situation. The Sabres reportedly asked the league and New Jersey for more information about Devils winger Kyle Palmieri, who played Saturday against the Sabres and went on the COVID-19 protocol list Sunday. Buffalo did not receive more information, the source said.
The Sabres believe they were forced to take unnecessary risks. They wanted answers from the league as to why Zajac was added to the protocol list Friday. It turns out they played against 10 Devils who are now sitting out. As the Devils’ situation showed, more Sabres could end up on the COVID list in the coming days. Buffalo shut down their facilities until at least next Tuesday, so there will be a lot of uncertainty within the organization. Buffalo strongly believes that this situation may have been avoidable.
What’s next for the Devils?
The Devils remained in Pittsburgh as of Tuesday afternoon and the club’s facility will be closed to everyone on the active roster through at least Saturday. The Devils have three injured players waiting to join the roster, meaning they miss fewer games.
The biggest concern for the team is to ensure that they remain safe until they are eligible to return. COVID has made this season a struggle for the NHL to remain in season.