The sudden postponement of Tuesday night’s game at the Philadelphia Flyers has left the Carolina Hurricanes with more questions than answers.
The game, scheduled for Tuesday night, was postponed around 10 p.m. Monday due to what the NHL said were COVID-19 issues among the Flyers, long after the Hurricanes had already flown to Philadelphia and checked into their hotel.
Tuesday morning, as the Hurricanes prepared to fly home, the Flyers practiced with a full complement of players at their practice rink in Voorhees Township, N.J.
That left the Hurricanes wondering not only why they got such late notice the game was postponed, but why it was postponed at all.
“I wish I knew more,” Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell told The News & Observer on Tuesday, “because we’re trying to get answers to figure this thing out.”
The Flyers played Thursday and Saturday without four key players, extending their losing streak to five games. They had one additional player, defenseman Justin Braun, test positive for COVID-19 on Monday but had an available replacement on their taxi squad. Tuesday, Flyers captain Claude Giroux returned from the COVID-19 protocol and was one of 21 Flyers players practicing. After practice, the Flyers announced that defenseman Rasmus Ristolanen was also unavailable because of COVID.
“There’s a lot of moving parts,” Flyers interim head coach Mike Yeo told media members following Tuesday’s practice, speaking about inconsistencies in decisions made as it relates to game postponements. “I do understand and empathize, you know — whether it’s business people, whether it’s league, whether it’s scheduling, whether it’s the other team’s travel, all these things — I know that there’s a lot of factors that go in.”
Flyers spokesman Zack Hill said, “Strictly COVID protocols,” referring comment to the NHL. An NHL spokesman said the league would have no further comment.
The Hurricanes, meanwhile, would have been without star defenseman Jaccob Slavin, who entered COVID protocols Tuesday morning.
The Hurricanes have had seven games postponed this season, five on the road, but this was the first after the team had already traveled to its destination. Waddell estimated that the Carolina Hurricanes spent in excess of $100,000 on charter flights and hotel rooms for their trip to Philadelphia.
The Flyers announced that Braun had entered COVID protocols at 12:10 p.m. Monday. The Hurricanes departed RDU International Airport at 2:11 p.m. The game was officially postponed at 10:02 p.m.
“That was my question — I wish we would have known yesterday,” Waddell said. “And they said, well they didn’t know until tests came back yesterday afternoon or (yesterday) evening.”
As of late Tuesday morning, Waddell told the N&O he had not heard anything from the league about reimbursements for the expenditures. Previously, he said, the organization has not been reimbursed for similar expenses.
“It’s very frustrating, especially because we know as much as you know,” Waddell told the N&O.
This story was originally published January 11, 2022 2:27 PM.