The Buffalo Sabres will not return to game action until at least December 29, as the NHL has announced a delay to its return to game play. The league unceremoniously dumped the news around 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve that all games scheduled for December 27 have been postponed.
The Sabres were scheduled to host the New York Islanders that night.
NHL teams are still slated to return to practice on December 26, after 2 p.m. local time, and all players will be tested for COVID-19 before they are allowed to participate.
The league had originally announced that games would begin again the next day, but has now delayed its return by at least one day - to December 28 - in order to allow for more time to “analyze League-wide testing resulting and to assess Clubs’ readiness to play.”
The last update we heard from the Sabres was that Jeff Skinner, Vinnie Hinostroza & Zemgus Girgensons were all in the league’s COVID protocol. Prior to the holiday break, players leaguewide had been reporting daily for testing, but this isn't happening during the break.
Still, several more players - including both William Nylander and Morgan Rielly of the Toronto Maple Leafs - have entered into protocol over the last day and a half.
The NHL says it will provide an update by the end of the day on Sunday.