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Kings’ next two games postponed because of COVID issues with Avalanche

Kings defenseman Sean Walker, left, collects the puck in front of then-teammate Michael Amadio
Kings defenseman Sean Walker, left, collects the puck in front of then-teammate Michael Amadio and Colorado Avalanche right wing Logan O’Connor on March 12 in Denver.
(David Zalubowski / Associated Press)

The NHL postponed the Kings’ scheduled games at Colorado on Friday and Sunday after a third member of the Avalanche entered the league’s COVID protocols on Friday, the league announced.

The Avalanche’s game against St. Louis next Tuesday also was postponed. The Avalanche aren’t expected to reopen their facilities for practice until next Wednesday at the earliest, pending test results.

The postponement, announced on Friday, leaves a gap in the Kings’ schedule until Tuesday, when they’re scheduled to host the Ducks at Staples Center. That has been designated as the first game this season that fans will be welcomed in-person at Staples Center, though in small numbers.

The NHL started the 2020-21 season in mid-January because the completion of the 2019-20 season was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Each team’s schedule was cut from 82 regular-season games to 56 and the 31 teams were temporarily realigned to reduce travel and lessen the risk of contracting the virus, with play limited to the teams within each division.

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The seven Canadian teams were grouped in one division because of border-crossing restrictions that limited travel between the United States and Canada.

As part of its COVID-19 protocols, Staples Center initiated a strict no-bag policy that has fans frustrated even with clarification of the rule.

Those precautions and strict safety protocols for players and team personnel haven’t prevented scheduling disruptions. A recent COVID outbreak among Vancouver Canucks players and coaches has raised the question of whether the league will be able to complete even its shortened schedule. The Canucks haven’t played since March 24, and their scheduled return to action on Friday was delayed to provide more time for their recovery and preparation.

The league has extended the end of the regular season to May 19 to allow teams to make up games that were postponed. By then, many of those games will have no impact on playoff qualification.


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