That headline is a doozy, but it seems to capture the whirlwind of what happened on Friday.
First, it was announced that the Canadian federal government will clear a path for a Canadian city to be used as one of the NHL’s hubs for this summer’s playoffs. The government has reportedly issued an order in council in which the NHL could bypass Canada’s 14-day quarantine period if one of Edmonton, Toronto, or Vancouver were selected as one of the hubs.
It appears as though Vegas is going to be one of the hosts, so that leaves one more city left to be selected. Along with Toronto, Edmonton, and Vancouver, American cities Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and Minneapolis/St. Paul are reportedly in the running to be hubs.
Shortly after that, news broke that the Tampa Bay Lightning closed their facilities due to an outbreak of COVID-19. The Lightning had been operating in Phase 2, in which small groups of players were allowed to take part in optional on-ice sessions.
The Lightning announced that three players and additional staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. It was also reported that Auston Matthews, who had been living in Arizona during the pause, has tested positive for the virus.
This is undoubtedly a massive black-eye for the NHL in their return to play endeavour. Having a Stanley Cup contender having to close camp shortly after opening up and having news about a star player contracting the virus on the same day isn’t a good look. The virus is certainly still prevalent and navigating around it is going to be incredibly difficult.