NHL to Bring Back Taxi Teams to Continue the Season
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The NHL will come out of an extended vacation break with taxi teams and other roster revisions to guard against further disruption of the season.
Each team will be allowed to have a team of taxis of no more than six players and to perform emergency recalls of minors if absences from COVID-19 force anyone to play without a full roster. Taxi teams, which were used during the shortened 2021 season, are expected to be in effect until at least the all-star break in early February.
Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly confirmed the list’s new rules in an email to The Associated Press on Sunday. They were first reported by Sportsnet.
Under the new provisions, any team that is reluctant to have 12 forwards, six defensemen and two goaltenders available can bring in an American Hockey League player without playing a game with less than the usual 18 skaters. Emergency recalls can also be made for players whose salary cap reaches $ 1 million, an increase from the previous limit of $ 850,000.
Taxi team players will count as minors for capping purposes. They can be there for up to 20 days.
The goal of the changes is to keep the NHL season going after 64 games have already been postponed for reasons related to the coronavirus. The 14 games originally scheduled for Monday have been postponed to allow analysis of the COVID-19 tests carried out on Sunday by players, coaches and staff upon their return to the team’s facilities.
The return to the team’s facilities also brought the predictable result of additions to the list of COVID-19 protocols across the league.
Defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lighting added goaltenders Andrei Vasilevskiy and Brian Elliott, defenseman Mikhail Sergachev, forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and assistant coach Rob Zettler to the roster. Dallas Stars defenseman Miro Heiskanen, forwards Jason Robertson, Joel Kiviranta, Radek Faksa and Michael Raffl, Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ryan Ellis and Buffalo Sabers forwards Dylan Cozens and Mark Jankowski and coach Don Granato have also participated in the protocol.
The Sabers have said Cozens, Jankowski and Granato are asymptomatic. The team canceled a scheduled practice, which was slated to be Buffalo’s first since Dec. 18.
The NHL began its annual Christmas vacation a day earlier than expected last week amid a rapid rise in positive COVID-19 test results among players. At the time, more than a quarter of the league’s 32 teams had been closed due to outbreaks.
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