When it was initially announced that the Flames has six players and one trainer entering the NHL's Covid Protocol on Monday, the league told the Flames the earliest they could return to the ice was December 16th.
Today the league pushed that date back two days, saying now the Flames will wait until at least December 18th after 20 more players/coaches/staff entered Covid Protocol in the last two days. The training facilities have also been shut down as well.
It's hard to believe that having 27 people in Covid Protocol means only a two day extension on the Return To Play date, but the NHL and Flames have a lot to look over when it comes to making games up. Calgary will now have postponed four games this week: Monday against Chicago, Tuesday against Nashville (who's got a budding Covid problem), Thursday against Toronto and Saturday against Columbus.
The new date of the 18th (the Columbus game would still be postponed even though it's on the 18th) means the Flames would potentially come back for the Anaheim Ducks on December 21st, but let's be realistic here: would you be shocked if the Flames were shut down until AT LEAST Christmas?
The list of Flames players/staff in Protocol is huge. Here's the players:
Johnny Gaudreau, Jacob Markstrom, Trevor Lewis, Rasmus Andersson, Byron Froese, Erik Gudbranson, Tyler Pitlick, Elias Lindholm, Andrew Mangiapane, Adam Ruzicka, Nikita Zadorov, Chris Tanev, Brad Richardson, Sean Monahan, Milan Lucic and Noah Hanifin.
That's pretty much 3/4 of the roster. Then there's Darryl Sutter, Ryan Huska and Kirk Muller. All three coaches are in Covid Protocol and seven staff members are there as well.
December 18th seems like a pipe dream as of today's announcement and don't be surprised if that date gets a rather large extension in the coming days.
As we mentioned earlier today, all Flames players/staff are vaccinated and are asymptomatic and feeling fine according to GM Brad Treliving.