Detroit Red Wings executive vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman openly questioned why the NHL and its respective teams are testing asymptomatic players for COVID-19 amid an outbreak of the Omicron variant.
Although several teams across various North American sports leagues are facing a major uptick in positive COVID-19 cases, Yzerman believes that most of the positive cases in the NHL constitute nothing more serious than the common cold.
"I really don't know what the right thing is. At the end of the day, I think — and now I'm getting political — but at the end of the day our players are testing positive with very little symptoms, if any symptoms at all."
"I don’t see it as a threat to their health at this point. I think you might take it a step further and question why are we even testing, for guys that have no symptoms," Yzerman said during his media availability Saturday.
Players can still spread the virus if they contract it, even if they are vaccinated, but that doesn’t appear to be a major concern for the Hockey Hall of Fame inductee.
"I think I can call the league and tell them — give them my opinion — and they will take it into consideration,” Yzerman said via Steve Kornacki of The Detroit News. “But I think they’re going to act and make a decision based on the health of everyone involved, for the health of society in general.
“I think they’re trying to be responsible, taking the integrity of each game into account as well. The reality is we want to play these games, and you weigh off playing them now with a depleted roster versus packing these games in towards the end of the schedule. Every team affected has done everything they can to keep playing, and I’m OK with that.”
Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill, assistant coach Alex Tanguay, goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic, forwards Givani Smith, Carter Rowney and Filip Zadina are all currently on the COVID-19 list as of this writing.
The NFL on Saturday made massive changes to its virus protocols, detailing in a league-wide memo its plan to end mandatory testing for asymptomatic, vaccinated players.
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