The National Hockey League hit another potential hurdle in its plan to return to play this week when yet another NHL player tested positive for COVID-19. As in all the other cases thus far the league has chosen to protect the identity of the players who tested positive for the deadly virus, but we do know that the player in question is currently a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins roster.
This latest news will likely prove to be another difficult here for the NHL as early on all 5 of the other players who had tested positive were members of the Ottawa Senators organization. The Senators of course have been eliminated from contention this season and we will not see them back on the ice until the start of the 2020 - 2021 NHL regular season, which means the risk of them potentially infecting others was all but non existent. That all changed when members of the Colorado Avalanche, a team that will participate in the NHL's 24 team playoff format this season, began to test positive for the virus with 3 of the Avalanche's players thus far testing positive. Now as well as having to gauge concerns regarding the Avalanche, the league will also have to factor in this most recent positive test from the Penguins into its return to play strategy.
Thankfully in the case of the unidentified Penguins player it sounds like he was not in Pittsburgh at the time of testing positive and is currently recovering at home, presumably far away from any teammates that he could potentially infect. That being said though there will no doubt need to be extensive testing done on both the Avalanche players and the Penguins players moving forward before the players in question are allowed to return to NHL facilities.
It is unclear at this time how ill the unidentified Penguins player became as a result of his infection, but according to a recent report from TSN that player is currently "recovering and feeling well" so it sounds like this particular case may have been on the mild side of things. There have been rumblings that the NHL is now looking to bump the start of camps all the way back to early August and I have to wonder if this most recent positive test may not have played some role in that.