The Flames Covid outbreak has now exploded with Calgary's announcement today that 17 members of the organization have entered the NHL's Covid Protocol. Seven players, three coaches and seven support staff were listed today, bringing the total number of Flames in protocol up to an astounding 27 people.
The players announced today are Johnny Gaudreau, Jacob Markstrom, Trevor Lewis, Rasmus Andersson, Byron Froese, Erik Gudbranson and Tyler Pitlick. They now join Elias Lindholm, Andrew Mangiapane, Adam Ruzicka, Nikita Zadorov, Chris Tanev, Brad Richardson, Sean Monahan, Milan Lucic, Noah Hanifin in Protocol. That leaves Mikael Backlund, Dan Vladar, Oliver Kylington, Matthew Tkachuk, Michael Stone, Dillon Dube and Blake Coleman as the only Flames regulars that haven't tested positive. But as we've seen this week, the could easily change in the coming hours or days.
As for the coaching staff, Darryl Sutter, Ryan Huska and Kirk Muller all entered Covid Protocol as well and seven more support staff joined them. Their names were not listed.
Clearly the Flames potential return to play date of December 16th will not be met. The NHL will need to figure out what the best course of action will be with the team and their schedule, but with three days in a row of players entering Covid Protocol and the total number up to 27, coming back after Christmas would seem like a miracle at this point.
Per Brad Treliving all members of the Flames are vaccinated, which is fantastic and everyone who has entered the NHL's Covid Protocol has been asymptomatic and feeling fine. So there's some sort of silver lining to this situation.
Teams across the league are seeing increases in players testing positive, so the NHL clearly has some things to address as they come into the Christmas break AND what the plan is for the 2022 Olympics in China.
We'll keep you updated on the Flames Covid situation as it develops.