Yzerman wonders why NHL tests asymptomatic players

Red Wings GM and EVP Steve Yzerman shared his thoughts on the NHL's COVID-19 protocols as the league trudges through a slew of outbreaks.  (Getty)
Red Wings GM and EVP Steve Yzerman shared his thoughts on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols as the league trudges through a slew of outbreaks. (Getty)

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.

While several teams in various North American sports leagues are facing a large rise in positive COVID-19 cases, Yzerman believes that most positive cases in the NHL are 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 test positive with very few symptoms, if there are any symptoms at all.”

“I don’t see it as a threat to their health right now. I think you might take it a step further and wonder why we even test, for guys who don’t have symptoms,” Yzerman said during his media availability Saturday.

Players can still spread the virus if they contract it, even if they’re vaccinated, but that doesn’t seem 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’ll consider it,” Yzerman said via Steve Kornacki of The Detroit News. “But I think they will 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, also taking into account the integrity of every match. The reality is we want to play these games, and you’re weighing them down to play them now with an empty roster versus these games in towards the end of the schedule. Every team involved has done everything they can to keep playing, and I’m fine with that.”

Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill, assistant coach Alex Tanguay, goalkeeper Alex Nedeljkovic, forwards Givani Smith, Carter Rowney and Filip Zadina are all on the COVID-19 list at the time of writing.

The NFL made massive changes to its virus protocols on Saturday, describing in a league-wide memo its plan to end mandatory testing for asymptomatic, vaccinated players.

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