UPDATE: Another game has been postponed.
The NHL has announced that our Jan. 15 game against New Jersey has been postponed. https://t.co/zX28Pn5aHy— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) January 6, 2022
As had been suggested a few days earlier, the NHL has decided to reschedule some games that were to take place at the Bell Centre early in the month of January, moving them to dates later in the season. In total four games have had ther dates changed, one is shifted to the visitor’s venue, and that’s all to go with the four road games that were previously missed and also need new dates.
SCHEDULE UPDATE: @NHL postpones one game due to COVID-related issues and nine games due to Canadian attendance restrictions.— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) December 28, 2021
Full release: https://t.co/xBNA4hKsO6 pic.twitter.com/edfOM7qckp
The affected games are those originally scheduled for January 4, 5, 8, and 10, versus the Washington Captials, Toronto Maple Leafs, Buffalo Sabres, and Columbus Blue Jackets, respectively. A game that was to take place in Montreal between the Habs and Boston Bruins on January 12 will be played at TD Garden in Boston instead.
The shifts have been made in hopes that this current wave of the Omicron coronavirus variant will have passed by the time the new dates are upon us, and the Bell Centre can go back to full capacity. The organization and league would have lost out on ticket and concession revenue with limited or no fan capacity under current provincial regulations, and that’s something the league is trying to avoid having already lost a great deal of revenue over the past two years.
Other steps to combat the effects of this new wave have been to reinstate the taxi squads that featured in the league last season, holding a group of players in reserve should there be any positive tests to the regular starters on the day of a game. The league is hoping to hobble through this current stage of the pandemic, with a large amount of AHL players currently on league rosters, in its attempt to get a full 82-game slate in.
The Canadiens’ game for tonight versus the Tampa Bay Lightning is still set to go ahead, as are two more on the road between now and January 1.