The two teams met this past weekend in Buffalo and numerous Devils players were placed in the NHL’s COVID protocol after the second game. It appeared at first as if the Sabres were not affected and would face the New York Islanders tonight as scheduled. However, this morning the NHL announced that Buffalo did not travel to Long Island and that its next three games have been postponed.
14 New Jersey players are currently in the protocol, many of whom played against the Sabres on Sunday. It was revealed today that LW Taylor Hall and D Rasmus Ristolainen were added to the list for Buffalo. John Vogl of The Athletic states that the Sabres are very unhappy with how the League handled the situation.
Travis Zajac was added to the protocol on Friday, but it is evident by the surge in cases that New Jersey’s contact tracing was not very thorough. Kyle Palmieri faced the Sabres on Saturday but was added to the list on Sunday and did not play. Jack Hughes, Pavel Zacha and Miles Wood are among other players to be added after the two games in Buffalo. Erie County, NY Executive Mark Poloncarz expressed his frustration with the carelessness of both the Devils and the NHL.
Buffalo’s two-game set with the Islanders this week has been cancelled along with their Saturday meeting with the Bruins in Boston. Their second game against the Bruins on February 8 is the earliest the team could possibly play again, but there is no telling if that will be the case.
The Devils are now the fourth team to experience a COVID outbreak since this season began and one could say that the Sabres by extension are the fifth. Whether or not play will be halted League-wide remains to be seen.