When the NHL announced the Philadelphia Flyers vs Boston Bruins would play outdoors in January, no-one thought this would happen. However, the NHL now has an interesting decision to make. A decision that effects the Lake Tahoe Outdoor Classic just 8-days away.
With now seven Philadelphia Flyers on the covid list, the NHL must make a decision to play the game as is or replace the Flyers in the game. Something that seems they are leaning towards doing.
According to the Crossing Broad’s Russ Joy, the NHL has picked a replacement team for the Flyers already. With the New York Rangers expected to be playing the Bruins instead.
With 7 Flyers now on the NHL's Protocol list, expect formal announcement of the New York Rangers as the Flyers' replacement for the Feb. 21st game in Lake Tahoe. #Flyers
— Russ Joy (@JoyOnBroad) February 12, 2021
Now, nothing is official just yet. The Flyers are still in line to play the Bruins next Sunday. Which is something the NHL hopes to keep on track to play. Especially with the effect it would have on the East Division.
If the NHL is forced to remove the Flyers from the game, it would send the East into a free-fall. A free-fall that would cause the NHL to completely have to re-do the remaining East Division schedule. Here is why.
With the NHL already re-scheduling games in the East, off days are hard to find to reschedule games. For instance, the Flyers have only five open days over the remaining part of the season to make-up games. All of which will make back-to-backs & some would make four-games in five-days.
If the NHL subs out the Flyers & inserts the Rangers, it would result in multiple teams in the East having to find spots for four or more make-up games. Something that would lead to the NHL having to completely scrap the East Division schedule & re-do it.
Philadelphia Flyers would have to make up a minimum of six-games. Washington Capitals, the Rangers opponent next weekend, would have to make up five-games. New Jersey Devils, who have 16-players on covid list, would have to make up five-games. New York Rangers would have to make up four-games. Boston Bruins would have to make up three-games.
The reason for this is simple. To make sure two teams will be healthy & covid free for the game.
With any decision, the NHL will more than likely postpone the Bruins game vs the Devils next week. Mainly because the Devils have 16-players on the covid list.
If the NHL inserts the Rangers, the Rangers game vs the Devils on Tuesday & game vs the Flyers on Thursday would be postponed. Then, with the Rangers now playing in the game, their two games vs the Capitals, on the 20th & 21st, would be postponed as well.
If the NHL keeps the Flyers and hopes they clear protocol, only one game would have to be postponed. The Bruins game vs the Devils on Thursday.
Whichever scenario is chosen, it would hopefully guarantee two healthy teams for the game.
Now, one decision has more implications than the other. However, the NHL has to make the right decision here. While it may be to the dismay of some Flyers fans, the right & best decision is to remove the Flyers from the Lake Tahoe Outdoor Classic for the Rangers.
PHOTO CREDIT : NHL PR