The NHL pushed back its return from the holiday break by at least one more day after postponing Monday’s 14-game schedule to allow the league and teams time to complete COVID-19 tests and assess their ability to compete.
With the latest postponements taking the total to 64 games, the NHL said in a statement that it plans to resume the regular season on Tuesday.
“In order to allow the league an adequate opportunity to analyze league-wide testing results and assess clubs’ readiness to play, the target date for resumption of gameplay will be pushed back an additional day,” the league said.
“Teams will return to practice on Dec. 26 and it is expected that the league will provide an update on its return to play plans by the end of day on Sunday.”
The league was originally set to shut down from Friday to Sunday for Christmas but the NHL and its players’ union agreed this week to bring the shutdown forward to Wednesday-Saturday as coronavirus cases surge.
The Rangers’ Monday-night game against the Detroit Red Wings was pushed back as their lengthy wait to re-take the ice continues. They haven’t played since a shootout loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Dec. 17.
The Islanders were set to skate against the Buffalo Sabres on Monday, but their wait beginning on Dec. 19 will continue. Their next game is scheduled for Wednesday against a Red Wings team that was dealing with one of the more prominent outbreaks around the league last week.
NHL players will also not compete in the men’s ice hockey tournament at next year’s Beijing Winter Games due to COVID-19 concerns. The league said it would use the Olympic window to reschedule postponed games.