NHL, NHLPA announce modified COVID Protocols + McLellan’s reaction + Crypto.com Arena policy update

Insiders, some updates from the NHL and NHLPA regarding a “modification” to the league’s COVID Protocols.

The National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) and the National Hockey League (NHL) announced today a modification to their COVID-19 Protocol. The modification will reduce the isolation period after a positive test from 10 days to five days for fully vaccinated Players who meet the required conditions. It also applies to fully vaccinated Hockey Operations staff, including coaches. The change was made in response to the new isolation guidelines for COVID-positive individuals issued on Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While the changes apply on a League-wide basis, all personnel will still have to comply with the applicable health and safety regulations in their jurisdictions, including the Federal and Provincial COVID health and safety mandates in Canada, which may be more restrictive than the Protocol.

Specifics of the changes to the Protocol after a positive test include:

Isolate for five days;

If the individual has a fever, continue to isolate until their fever resolves;

If the individual has no symptoms or their symptoms are resolving after five days, they can leave isolation and return to practices and games, provided the following conditions are met:

– A lab-based PCR test that is negative, or a lab-based PCR test that has a CT value >30, or two negative molecular point of care tests collected >2 hours apart; and,
– Medical clearance from the individual’s Club physician; and,
– Such exit is permitted by their local health authority.
– The individual shall continue to always wear a mask around others for five additional days, other than for practices and games.

All other aspects of the Protocol remain in place. The NHL’s and NHLPA’s medical experts will re-evaluate these measures on or before Jan. 12.

When asked during today’s media availability about the updated procedures and policies, Head Coach Todd McLellan was encouraged that the science behind the decision helped to push forward changes that had mounting support around the league. He’s called the current landscape “uneasy” for players, coaches and staff members, and used the word “confusing” today, which it has been. He said it does feel as if concerns raised have been heard, though he noted it’s a lot bigger than just that, with the science driving the decisions

“I think it’s great,” McLellan said. “It wouldn’t happen without science approving it, so in my mind, I think the risk is mitigated and it allows players and people to get back to work quicker, especially ones that are asymptomatic. We’ve had a number of those who have just been sitting at home waiting, it’s been a very confusing time. We’ve got guys playing, I guess you wouldn’t consider them sick, but not feeling 100 percent and healthy guys at home wondering what’s going on. I hope it’ll help.”

With regards to how these protocols impact the Kings, Cal Petersen and Phillip Danault have now outwaited the old protocol and have both returned to practice, so both individuals are unaffected. Quinton Byfield, who entered protocol on December 21, would be eligible to return from a time standpoint, though would need to meet the other criteria. McLellan noted that Byfield should exit protocol “quite soon” and the Kings will need to figure out his next steps from that point. Dustin Brown and Olli Maatta, who entered protocol on December 26, remain in protocol at this time, though their stay could be shorter than expected, assuming they meet the necessary criteria.

Regarding Petersen, McLellan confirmed he will backup tomorrow, while Danault will be day of game decision. More to follow in today’s practice report.

OTTAWA, ON – NOVEMBER 11: Phillip Danault #24 of the Los Angeles Kings skates against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on November 11, 2021 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by André Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

Lastly, a message from the Kings and Crypto.com Arena regarding in-game protocols and procedures for guests attending games here on this seven-game homestand.

The LA Kings and Crypto.com Arena continue to work closely with state and local health officials to responsibly and thoughtfully implement all safety protocols. Fans visiting Crypto.com Arena must follow all established health and safety guidelines for the safety of guests, athletes, performers, and team members.

All guests age 2 and over are required to present either proof of full vaccination (two weeks since your final dose) or a negative COVID-19 test within 1 day for an antigen test or 2 days for a PCR test prior to entry into an event. Also, guests over the age of 2 are required to wear a face covering that covers both the nose and mouth.

Please help us help each other. For additional arena information, visit www.cryptoarena.com/safe. The LA Kings appreciate your efforts as we collectively strive to provide a safe and enjoyable experience.

Today’s practice report to follow, including lineup from today’s skate, the focus from a coaching staff, thoughts from Sean Durzi on the team getting back to their identity and some updates heading into tomorrow’s game versus Vancouver.

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