Leafs vs. Senators faces potential postponement by NHL

With the Ontario government making further cuts to stadium capacity, uncertainty surrounds the status of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ game on Saturday at the Scotiabank Arena against the Ottawa Senators.

Earlier this week two upcoming Toronto Maple Leafs games were postponed by the NHL, due to Canadian attendance restrictions. This came about due to the Ontario government’s decision to reduce seating capacity at indoor sporting events to 50 per cent.

Now, the Ontario government has taken things a step further, and presented another challenge for the NHL. As reported by Sportsnet, it was announced on Thursday that the capacity for indoor sporting events can now only be 1,000 people or 50 per cent, whichever is less.

In terms of Toronto-based teams, this decision will impact the Leafs, Raptors, Marlies and Raptors 905. The question is, will the Leafs’ game on Saturday versus the Ottawa Senators still go ahead?

This seems like a valid question, when considering the NHL has already postponed Toronto’s home contest on Jan. 3 against the Carolina Hurricanes. (The other Leaf game already postponed is the Jan. 6 contest in Montreal, where the allowed capacity is currently zero.)

If the NHL’s aim is to protect as much revenue as possible, the Ontario government’s latest announcement is surely something that may persuade them to postpone more Leafs and Senators home games. For Scotiabank Arena specifically, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment advised there will be no sold tickets for the next three weeks, after which the province will reassess restrictions.

Another reason to wonder if further Leafs and Senators home games will be postponed, is an update on Friday by Elliotte Friedman of SportsnetFriedman reported that there is now some question about the Vancouver Canucks’ home games on Jan. 5 and Jan. 8 going ahead as planned.

Keep in mind that — at the time of writing — the capacity in British Columbia remains at 50 per cent. While nothing is clear at this stage, it would be no surprise if the NHL does proceed to postpone Saturday’s contest between the Leafs and Senators.

Understandably, there must be a lot of frustration for pro teams and their fans across Ontario at the moment. However, there is — at least theoretically — some positive news to report.

As per Gabby Rodrigues of Global News, Ontario has changed their PCR COVID testing eligibility. Among other things, isolation for fully vaccinated people has now been reduced from 10 to five days if symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours, and all relevant public health and safety measures are followed

This is an important step, as it follows the NHL similarly reducing their isolation period to five days earlier this week. (As per Sportsnet though, this will only apply to any local public health authorities who permit it.)

As things stand, the Leafs have had a total of eight games postponed on the 2021-22 schedule. It remains to be seen how many more will be added to the list in the coming days and weeks.

Do you predict the Leafs’ game versus the Senators will go ahead on Saturday? Further, do you believe it should be played, or postponed until a later date? Let us know in the comments section below.