The NHL announced a litany of schedule changes and adjustments on Saturday morning, to address some of the postponements that they have had as teams have battled COVID issues. The Penguins haven’t had major problems, it’s been more their opponents. Pittsburgh was scheduled to play New Jersey twice last week, and again next Tuesday, February 9th. All of those games had to be moved, because currently NJ as 17 players in COVID protocol.
SCHEDULE CHANGES:— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) February 6, 2021
With a series of recent postponements due to COVID-19 protocols, the NHL announced updates to the league’s regular season schedule.
More than 20 NHL games are affected by these changes, including eight Penguins games.
Details: https://t.co/WylTEkvlE0 pic.twitter.com/FBTypdYrkE
Here is a summary of the Pens’ changes:
at NJ, Feb 9 to March 18 (7 pm)
at NJ, March 19 to March 20 (1 pm)
vs NJ, Feb 2 to March 21 (1 pm)
vs Buf, March 26 to March 25 (7 pm)
vs NYI, March 30 to March 27 (7 pm)
at NJ, March 21 to Apr 9 (7 pm)
at Buf, Apr 19 to Apr 18 (3 pm)
vs NJ, Feb 4 to Apr 20 (7 pm)
All of these changes are nice for right now. The Pens haven’t played since last Saturday, play tonight, and now don’t play again until next Thursday February 11th. But there will be a significant price to pay moving ahead in this compressed, shortened season.
Beginning Feb. 27 and on through April 25, Pens now scheduled to play 31 games in 58 days. That's 1 game every 1.87 days. Maybe that means something...— Bob Grove (@bobgrove91) February 6, 2021
In a more concentrated manner, as Josh Yohe pointed out, from Feb 27 - Apr 3, it’s 20 games in just 36 days. Other teams will be in similar boats, as the NHL season isn’t even a month old yet and numerous games have already been postponed.
I almost wonder if the players or union will have any questions about the ultra-compressed schedule (to say nothing of the safety of working conditions where so much of their membership has been exposed and contracted the virus). This schedule the NHL has feels almost impossible, even in the best of circumstances. And in a pandemic we are in the absolute opposite of the best of circumstances.
But it doesn’t look like there’s much to do about it now, besides seeing just how much in the future the NHL can play before they have to wrestle with more game postponements.