Stars not expected to play scheduled opener after positive COVID-19 tests

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The Dallas Stars are not expected to begin the 2020-21 NHL season as scheduled after six players and two staff members recently confirmed positive tests for COVID-19. 

The NHL said in a statement Friday the Stars, who were originally scheduled to play their first game of the season against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center on Jan. 14, likely would not likely play earlier than Jan. 19. 

Dallas canceled practice Friday morning before the NHL announced the positive tests. 

“Those individuals are self-isolating and following CDC and League protocols,” the NHL said in a statement. “As a result of the positive tests, and as an appropriate precaution, the team’s training facilities have been closed, effective immediately, and will remain closed for several days while further daily testing and contact tracing is conducted. 

“The League is in the process of reviewing and revising the Stars’ regular season schedule with the expectation that the team will not open its 2020-21 season earlier than Tuesday, January 19.”

Dallas is also scheduled to play at the Panthers on Jan. 15, and at the Tampa Bay Lightning on Jan. 17 and 19. 

The Stars last practiced on Wednesday but were off on Thursday. 

“The Stars organization has, and will continue to follow, all recommended guidelines aimed at protecting the health and safety of its players, staff and community at large as set by the NHL, local, state and national agencies,” the NHL said. 

Also on Friday, 19 players did not practice for the Columbus Blue Jackets because of what the team said was “out of an abundance of caution and in accordance with NHL COVID-19 protocols.”

Columbus is scheduled to opens its season against the Nashville Predators on Jan. 14.

Coach John Tortorella said he is not sure if that game will be impacted. 

“I have no idea what the doctors do, how the whole protocol works, what they decide,” Tortorella said. “And I’m not even going to worry about it. Whatever comes our way each day, we’re going to present ourselves and try to get the best work in we can.”

NHL.com Staff writer Amalie Benjamin contributed to this report

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