Los Angeles Times

NHL 2021: A look at every team as unusual season gets underway

LOS ANGELES — Did somebody call a taxi squad? Anticipating that coronavirus cases will disrupt an already abbreviated schedule — and that vaccination won’t soon occur widely — teams will be allowed to keep four to six extra players on hand this NHL season, which opened Wednesday night with five games. The taxi squad is designed to help teams navigate the perils of playing during a pandemic ...

LOS ANGELES — Did somebody call a taxi squad?

Anticipating that coronavirus cases will disrupt an already abbreviated schedule — and that vaccination won’t soon occur widely — teams will be allowed to keep four to six extra players on hand this NHL season, which opened Wednesday night with five games. The taxi squad is designed to help teams navigate the perils of playing during a pandemic that will keep most of its arenas empty, at least to start.

The Stanley Cup playoffs were contested in bubbles last season, but the NHL didn’t propose replicating that because players understandably don’t want to be separated from family for six months. Teams were temporarily aligned into geographically close divisions to minimize travel, and all seven teams based in Canada were grouped together. Play will be limited to intra-division games in a 56-game schedule.

To ward off COVID-19, the NHL and NHL Players’ Association collaborated on a 213-page list of safety procedures. “The protocols are not a suggestion or recommendation but need to be done in order for us to address and get through the pandemic, and we will vigorously enforce them,” Commissioner Gary Bettman said this week.

The NHL said Tuesday that 27 players tested positive for COVID-19 during training camp, 17 of them

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