The pandemic is still very much a factor in everyday life.
The Ottawa Senators know that fact all too well, as the NHL announced on Monday that they would be postponing the team's next three games due to 10 players and one coach currently being in COVID-19 protocols.
The Senators were set to fly to New Jersey on Monday ahead of their meeting with the Devils on Tuesday night. That, obviously, will no longer be the case, with Ottawa's matchups versus the Nashville Predators on Thursday and the New York Rangers on Saturday being moved to a different date and time that has yet to be announced.
This is not a surprising outcome for a Senators team that has been ravaged by COVID-19 as of late.
The team ended up playing their regularly scheduled game versus the Los Angeles Kings this past Friday despite missing nine players due to league protocols, ultimately losing 3-0. That was simply an untenable situation that was only bound to get worse. And forcing the organization to trot out a lineup each night while this outbreak continued would have been an unfair position to put the team and its players in.
Notably, as well, is the impact that these postponements may have on the NHL's participation in the upcoming Winter Olympics.
The deadline for the league to opt-out of the 2022 games is January 10th, which is rapidly approaching. And when accounting for the Senators' postponements, along with any potential others that may occur in the coming months, pushing games farther into the future may cause the NHL to be far less inclined to pause their season for two weeks in February.
Regardless, this is a situation to keep an eye on as the full scope of the Senators' COVID-19 outbreak comes to light.