Calgary Flames

NHL teams have struggled following postponed games due to COVID

With the Calgary Flames having six players and one staff member enter the COVID protocol on December 13, the NHL made the decision to postpone the team’s next three games. It was reported early this morning by the team that three more players were added to the protocol today, which doesn’t bode well for the Flames playing on December 18th as currently scheduled.

The current list of Flames players in the COVID protocol are: Elias Lindholm, Andrew Mangiapane, Brad Richardson, Adam Ruzicka, Chris Tanev, Nikita Zadorov, Noah Hanifin, Milan Lucic, Sean Monahan, and a member of the training staff.

General Manger Brad Treliving spoke to the impact these types of outbreaks can have yesterday on the radio as well.

Fortunately, all positive cases are asymptomatic at this time.

Of course, the biggest concern right now is the safe recovery of all affected individuals and their families. Looking forward though, the Flames will return to the ice and they could be in for a rough start when they start playing again.

Postponed games in 2021–22

So far, the Flames join the Ottawa Senators and New York Islanders as teams to have games postponed due to COVID. This doesn’t include their opponents, of course.

The Senators played against the Flames on November 14 and then had their next two games postponed. They returned to the ice on November 22 to face the Colorado Avalanche. The Senators thus had eight days between games.

The Islanders played against the Penguins on November 26 and then had their next game postponed. They returned to the ice on December 2 to face the San Jose Sharks. The Islanders had six days between games.

So far, the Flames are scheduled to return against the Columbus Blue Jackets on December 18th which would be seven days after their last game. The Flames are the first team to have more than two games postponed and that number could climb as more players enter the protocol.

Records after returning from COVID postponements

Both the Islanders and Senators struggled after returning from their postponements.

Team3 Games after
5 Games after
Overall record since

In the three games following each team’s postponements, they recorded no wins. The Islanders fell twice in overtime and once in the shootout, and the Senators dropped all three in regulation.

Expanding this to the five games following postponements, just the Islanders were able to win one game, bringing the overall record between the two teams to 1-6-3 in 10 combined games. With parity so high in the NHL, this type of stretch can be season-altering.

After those first five games for each team though, both have turned things around and started winning more games. The Senators have gone 4-1-0 in their next five games and the Islanders have gone 1-0-0.

It might be tough to come back and get back up to speed, but it looks like both the Senators and Islanders are back to normal now which is encouraging.

Overcoming adversity

In the midst of their worst stretch of the year that has seen the Flames go 0–3–1 in their last four games, the struggles with COVID are another piece of adversity they will have to fight to overcome. All eyes are on Calgary. Their health comes first, but as soon as it’s safe to return to scheduled games, it’ll be business as usual, and no team is going to get pity from their opponents.

Hopefully all affected individuals recover fully and quickly and can return to the ice soon, and hopefully the Flames can break the trend of resumptions being detrimental to a team’s ability to win games.

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