Sports·JAN 5 COVID RDUP

Oilers' Connor McDavid ruled out of game vs. Maple Leafs, placed in virus protocol

The Oilers announced that captain Connor McDavid, forward Derek Ryan and defenceman Tyson Barrie have entered the NHL's COVID-19 protocol hours before Edmonton was scheduled to face the Maple Leafs in Toronto.

NHL postpones 3 more games in Canadian cities

Edmonton Oilers centre Connor McDavid was placed in COVID-19 protocol on Wednesday, ruling him out of the night's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Chase Stevens/The Associated Press)

The latest sports news:

  • McDavid, 2 other Oilers out; 3 games in Canadian cities postponed
  • Canadian soccer star Alphonso Davies tests positive
  • OHL commits to finishing season, postpones 7 more games
  • NFL searches for contingency sites for Super Bowl 
  • Parsons, Mixon, more placed on NFL COVID list
  • More EPL postponements

The Oilers announced that captain Connor McDavid, forward Derek Ryan and defenceman Tyson Barrie have entered the NHL's COVID-19 protocol hours before Edmonton was scheduled to face the Maple Leafs in Toronto.

McDavid and Ryan were held out of practice Tuesday after returning positive tests as the team awaited results of further testing to determine their status for Wednesday's game.

McDavid had tested negative on Monday before playing in Edmonton's 4-1 loss against the Rangers in New York.

The Oilers also placed forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on injured reserve. Nugent-Hopkins had been out day-to-day since Saturday with an undisclosed injury.

The Oilers also announced forward Zack Kassian has cleared COVID-19 protocols and goaltender Ilya Konovalov has been loaned to the team's taxi squad.

Goaltender Mike Smith is set to return from an undisclosed injury to start.

Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews told reporters he planned on playing in Wednesday's game after participating in practice. Matthews had been held out of Toronto's previous two practices for precautionary reasons after testing positive for COVID-19 on a rapid antigen test on Monday, then negative on a PCR test Tuesday.

WATCH | NHL schedule upended by virus:

NHL playing schedule left in disarray by COVID-19

5 months ago
Duration 2:12
More than 90 NHL games to date have been postponed due to COVID-19, as more players — including Toronto Maple Leafs superstar Auston Matthews — test positive.

In other NHL news, the Montreal Canadiens have added two more players to the National Hockey League's COVID-19 protocol for a total of 24 team members.

Forwards Cameron Hillis and Michael Pezzetta were put on the league's health and safety list on Wednesday.

The Habs say Hillis and Pezzetta are being monitored by team doctors.

Montreal paused team activities to deal with the outbreak after Saturday's 5-2 loss to Florida.

The Canadiens' next scheduled game is Jan. 12 in Boston in a game originally scheduled to be played in Montreal.

The NHL postponed three more games in Canadian cities Wednesday due to current attendance restrictions in certain provinces.

The league said the contests will be rescheduled for later in the season when such restrictions may be eased or lifted.

The affected games include the New Jersey Devils at Montreal on Saturday night, the Devils visiting the Maple Leafs on Jan. 17 and Chicago at Edmonton Oilers on Jan. 18.

Petterson latest Canuck to enter protocol

The Vancouver Canucks say Elias Pettersson has been placed into the NHL's COVID-19 protocol.

The Canucks (16-15-3) announced the news on Twitter on Wednesday, a scheduled day off for the team.

Pettersson, a 23-year-old Swedish centre, has six goals and 11 assists in 34 games this season.

He is the fifth Vancouver player added to the COVID protocols in a week, following forwards Brock Boeser, Phillip Di Giuseppe (both Dec. 29), Justin Dowling (Dec. 30) and Jason Dickinson (Jan. 1).

Canucks coach Bruce Boudreau confirmed Tuesday that players who tested positive for the virus while the team was playing in the U.S. have returned to Vancouver via a medevac flight.

The Canucks are set to host the Ottawa Senators on Saturday.

Davies tests positive

Bayern Munich says Canadian star Alphonso Davies has joined the list of players to test positive for COVID-19.

The Bundesliga club says the 21-year-old fullback from Edmonton is well and self-isolating at home.

The COVID news comes just weeks before Canada is scheduled to play World Cup qualifiers in Honduras (Jan. 27), at home to the U.S. in Hamilton (Jan. 30) and in El Salvador (Feb. 2).

The Canadian men, who currently top the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying standings at 4-0-4, are slated to play Guatemala in a Jan. 22 training match in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Read more about Davies' positive test here.

OHL commits to completing season, postpones 7 games

The Ontario Hockey League announced Wednesday that seven more games have been postponed due to COVID-19 protocol.

Three of the Guelph Storm's games have been affected by the postponements, including Wednesday night's contest against visiting Windsor and a home-and-home series with Owen Sound originally scheduled for Friday and Saturday.

The Hamilton Bulldogs have also had three games postponed: Thursday at Peterborough, Friday against Niagara and Sunday against Ottawa.

The 67's game scheduled for Friday at Oshawa has also been pushed back.

The OHL has postponed 49 games this season due to COVID-19 concerns, though the league announced Wednesday that 20 of those have been rescheduled. Additionally, a game Saturday at Barrie between the Colts and North Bay that had originally been postponed will now be played.

Earlier Wednesday, the OHL said in a release that it is committed to finishing its 2021-22 season as new COVID-19 measures begin in the province, including a complete restriction on fans at indoor sports venues.

The OHL said the league's board of governors met Wednesday morning to address its next steps in progressing with the season despite no fans being allowed at games based in Ontario for at least the next three weeks. The league said it is in conversation with government and public health officials and will have updates at a later time.

NFL looks for alternative sites for Super Bowl

The NFL, not surprisingly in the midst of a rise in COVID-19 cases, has looked into other potential sites for next month's Super Bowl.

That's not unusual because the league does so every year. But with Los Angeles the site for this year's title game, and restrictions increasing for attendance at indoor events, it has become more noteworthy.

"We plan on playing Super Bowl 56 as scheduled at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 13," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said Wednesday. "As part of our standard contingency planning process that we conduct for all regular and postseason games, we have contacted several clubs to inquire about stadium availability in the event we cannot play the Super Bowl as scheduled due to weather-related issues or unforeseen circumstances.

"Our planning process for the Super Bowl in Los Angeles is ahead of schedule and we look forward to hosting the Super Bowl there to culminate another fantastic NFL season for our fans and clubs."

AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, the home of the Dallas Cowboys, reportedly is one of the facilities contacted. The stadium hosted the Rose Bowl in 2021 when it was switched from Pasadena because of COVID-19 restrictions in California.

Earlier Wednesday, the Grammy Awards were postponed indefinitely. They were scheduled for Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles on Jan. 31. Organizers cited health and safety concerns.

The Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium is scheduled for Feb. 13.

Parsons, Mixon among new names on NFL COVID list

Dallas star rookie linebacker Micah Parsons and Cincinnati running back Joe Mixon were the latest big-name players added to the COVID-19 reserve list Wednesday.

Parsons will likely miss the season finale for the Cowboys on Saturday against Philadelphia when Dallas has a chance to improve its playoff seeding. Parsons will finish the season with 13 sacks, 1 1/2 behind the rookie record set by Tennessee's Jevon Kearse in 1999.

The NFL is allowing players to return five days after a positive COVID-19 test if they don't have symptoms. The reduction last week from the previous isolation time of 10 days includes unvaccinated players.

Mixon joins Bengals sacks leader Trey Hendrickson and a handful of other key players for Cincinnati on the COVID-19 list headed into Sunday's finale against Cleveland. The Bengals have clinched the AFC North, but have a slight chance at the top seed and a bye if things break the right way this weekend.

Minnesota activated quarterback Kirk Cousins from COVID-19 reserve, after he missed the game at Green Bay — the first unplanned absence of his career — and saw the Vikings eliminated from playoff contention in the loss.

The Raiders activated star tight end Darren Waller, along with defensive end Carl Nassib and guard Jordan Simmons from the COVID-19 list.

Liverpool outbreak forces postponements

A coronavirus outbreak among Liverpool's players and staff led to the team's match against Arsenal in the English League Cup semifinals being postponed Wednesday, adding to the backlog in English soccer caused by the fast-spreading omicron variant.

Chelsea also reported two cases — defender Thiago Silva and midfielder N'Golo Kante — but they didn't prevent the team beating Tottenham 2-0 in the other semifinal that was played Wednesday.

The English Football League, which runs the cup competition, approved a request from Liverpool for the game to be called off because of a slew of positive tests at the club that has led to the closure of its training ground.

Player availability had already been impacted because of injuries and absences for the African Cup of Nations, which is depriving Liverpool of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Naby Keita.

The first leg that was scheduled to take place at Arsenal on Thursday will now be staged at Anfield on Jan. 13. The second leg will take place at Emirates Stadium on Jan. 20.

In other soccer news, Lionel Messi returned to France from Argentina after testing negative for the coronavirus and will rejoin the Paris Saint-Germain squad in training in the "next few days," the club said.

But PSG defender Layvin Kurzawa has tested positive and is now isolating. The French league leader's next game is at Lyon on Sunday.

With files from The Associated Press

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