It’s a bad time machine. With the Omicron variant, we’re almost back to the reality of the early months of the pandemic in 2020. The National Hockey League (NHL) leaders haven’t completely slowed down the season, but it will happen at two speeds.
There is the American reality and the Canadian reality.
“There are no restrictions on our 25 US squads being able to accommodate supporters currently,” Commissioner Gary Pittman’s right-hand man, Bill Daly, confirmed in an email with The Journal.
In the United States, fans can pass through the grandstand gates without any problem. However, in some US cities, there is an obligation to provide proof of vaccination. It varies from state to state.
The Canadians play their next game Wednesday night against the Bruins in Boston. Like the vast majority of games among old rivals, TD Garden is likely to be full. A scene that would stand in contrast to what happened in the last game at the Bell Center, where the CH played behind closed doors against the Philadelphia Flyers, on December 16.
Advantage with supporters
But we know the truth of the two countries. The United States has its own healthcare system compared to Canada.
“There is always an advantage in having your supporters behind you,” Dominique Ducharme admitted a few hours before his departure for Boston on Tuesday. But we’re talking about two different countries, two different health systems and two different approaches. There are things we cannot control.
“But if you ask me and I ask the players what we prefer, it is to play in front of a full yard,” continued the CH coach. Over the course of a long season of 82 games, you want to enjoy your home games and tap into the energy of the crowd. We’ll see what happens when we get home [après un voyage de sept matchs à l’étranger]. Of course, we would like to have people in the stands.”
24,000 cases in Massachusetts
If there is any sad justice with the pandemic, it is because it is spreading everywhere. The Omicron variant does not stop at the borders. There is a prevalence of cases worldwide. Canada and the United States are no exception.
For this classic between Montreal and Boston, we can highlight some of the characters. In terms of hockey, the Bruins (19-11-2) have a much better season than CH (7-23-4).
There is less variance in the COVID-19 statistics. According to data from the New York Times, Massachusetts has had a daily average of 24,420 positive cases in the past seven days. Of the 50 US states, Massachusetts has the fourth worst average with 354 positive cases per 100,000 residents.
In Quebec, the number of new COVID-19 cases reported by positive PCR tests reached 8,710 on Tuesday.
“Remember that the number of cases listed does not represent the situation since access to screening centers is limited to priority customers,” Quebec warns in its daily press release.
This is probably closer to the daily average for Massachusetts, which has a population of nearly 7 million.
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