St. Louis Blues captain Ryan O'Reilly argued Sunday that the NHL should only test symptomatic players for COVID-19 as the number of players sidelined continues to grow around the league.
O'Reilly's comments were made following the Blues’ 4-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets in what will be their final game until after Christmas after the NHL postponed all cross-border games through Dec. 26 on Sunday.
“I agree with those guys. We’ve got guys vaccinated and double vaccinated and some guys aren’t showing any symptoms, and they’re getting popped and they’re in COVID protocol," O'Reilly said. I think I’d like to see no testing unless you have symptoms, but it’s not up to me.
“It’s a league and players decision. Hopefully we can figure this out because it’s frustrating. We want to keep going on the season and playing but with the way things are working out I guess the safety is the concern. But it would be nice to kind of figure out.”
The Blues, who added Oskar Sundqvist to the NHL's COVID-19 protocol on Saturday, saw their games against the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators scheduled for this week postponed.
Blues defenceman Torey Krug joined O'Reilly in questioning the league's protocols on Sunday, stating he believes many positive players felt well enough to play.
"Most of the guys that are testing positive are sitting at home with not many symptoms and feel pretty good and comfortable to play," Krug said.
“There's a cold going around that guys have felt much worse with, so disappointed that we can't play, but it is what it is. We can't really do anything about it until there's different protocols and things in place. For us, we've just got to do what we're told, unfortunately.
"Guys just want to play hockey. When they feel comfortable and they feel healthy enough to play, they just want to play.”
The Blues enter the holiday break with a 17-9-5 record, sitting third in the Central Division, one point back of the division-leading Minnesota Wild.