Thompson Sports News

'A little overkill': Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck not keen on NHL's schedule pause

 

Connor Hellebuyck isn't a fan of the NHL's latest move to combat the spread of COVID-19.

 

The league pushed up the start of its traditional holiday schedule pause by 48 hours because of coronavirus concerns and full-on outbreaks fuelled by the Omicron variant that have led to 45 games being postponed since Dec. 13.

 

The Winnipeg Jets goalie, however, doesn't agree with a decision that will see players off starting Wednesday before returning to work Sunday.

 

“I can't speak for everyone, but the feeling for myself it's a little overkill,” Hellebuyck told reporters in Winnipeg on Tuesday.

 

“You see leagues like the NFL, who are adapting and, I think, doing things right.”

 

The NFL recently reduced COVID-19 testing for vaccinated players that are asymptomatic.

 

The NHL had been testing players every third day, but returned to a daily regimen through at least Jan. 7 amid a surge in cases.

 

More than a third of NHL teams had either been shut down or voluntarily closed facilities through the holidays before the league announced Wednesday's schedule would be added to the list of contests needing new dates.

 

As it stands, roughly 15 per cent of players - all but one NHLer is considered fully vaccinated - are in the league's COVID-19 protocol.

 

“It sucks, but it's Christmas time, so we're enjoying the break,” said Hellebuyck, who contracted the virus last summer before receiving his jab. “Use this time as a little mental reset."

 

“See family, enjoy the holidays, and enjoy what we have.”

 

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