The TSN Hockey Insiders discuss how the Hurricanes' positive COVID-19 tests exposed gaps in the NHL's testing protocol, whether Mike Babcock has any interest in being in the running to be Canada's head coach for the 2022 Olympics, and how the IIHF is still planning to play the women's world championship in Halifax/Truro in April.
Canes positives expose gap in testing
Frank Seravalli: I think what we’ve learned is that there are gaps in the NHL’s testing protocol that may cause us to see something like this over and over again. Here’s how it works: The Carolina Hurricanes were tested on Monday morning, but you don’t hear the results from those test until almost a full 24 hours. The Hurricanes went and played their first game against the Nashville Predators, and then after the fact, found out that four players had tested positive. Now the same thing had repeated itself earlier in the season when the Hurricanes’ Jordan Staal tested positive after playing the first game of the season. So, you’re thinking, ‘Did Staal playing in that first game then cause the other players on the Hurricanes to be infected?’ When asked about the NHL’s protocol today, the league seemed content with how things are going and the cadence of their testing. They believe this is the best course of action for them and that players will find out before they return to the rink. I think the thing to point out here is that this is exactly what the NBA is not doing. They are rapid testing their players. Before NBA players can even enter a team facility they get a rapid test and if it’s negative, then they’re clear to enter. This may just be something that the NHL has to consider as they continue to be flexible and nimble down the road.
Babcock says it’s someone else’s turn at Olympics
Pierre LeBrun: When I asked Mike Babcock about his interest in being Canada's head coach for the 2022 Olympics he said "I think it’s someone else’s turn." We know that Babcock has had a long run coaching Team Canada. He loved every minute of it but he feels that there are a lot of great coaches out there. He’s right about that. Hockey Canada still hasn’t made it official what TSN reported last month: that Doug Armstrong will be named GM of Canada’s Olympic team for the Beijing Olympics. I think part of the delay is that Hockey Canada is probably waiting to see when the NHL negotiates its deal with the IOC, or at least gets close to it. The IOC is pretty busy right now, however, and the NHL hasn’t gotten going on that. The IOC has to figure out if there’s going to be a summer Olympics in Tokyo this summer and, past that, whether there’s any chance that the Beijing Olympics get delayed. So there’s lots to figure out before there can be any Olympic announcements.
It remains all systems go for Women’s Worlds
Darren Dreger: From Hockey Canada’s perspective, their fingers are crossed as they’re hoping that they will be able to host the Women’s Worlds in May in Truro and Halifax. They’re planning that and they’re strategizing as if the tournament will be a go, but the IIHF had to cancel a recent meeting simply because of COVID-19. So there’s a lot on the agenda of the IIHF, as the Women’s World’s is most definitely a top priority along with determining a location for the Men’s Worlds. Yes, they’ve moved the men’s tournament out of Belarus but they have to identify whether the new location is going to be Latvia and another country or will it just be Latvia hosting the tournament. The under-18 tournament is also a big deal to the IIHF. USA Hockey is hosting the under-18 championship this year, so everyone is hoping that they’re going to get these championships played. The IIHF is expected to meet next month and perhaps formalize all of this.