How the NHL Has Conquered COVID (At Least to This Point)

When he was told that the NHL had conducted almost 20,000 COVID tests since entering the playoff bubbles in Toronto and Edmonton more than three weeks ago, Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper made light of the situation, because that is what he does. “There are only 20,000?” Cooper asked. “I feel like I’ve taken 19,000 of them.”

It was hyperbole, of course, but Cooper’s words are emblematic of how well things have gone for the NHL from a health perspective. And it has been remarkable. From the time more than 1,200 players and team personnel hunkered down into the bubbles July 27 through last Saturday, the league had conducted a total of 19,898 COVID tests – 7,013 the first week, 7,245 the second week and 5,640 the third week – without a single positive test. Not one. That, ladies and gentlemen, represents a huge win for the league. There was no shortage of doubters that the NHL would even be able to pull this off, despite the league’s assurances it would make the players’ health its primary concern, but the fact it has managed to do so without a single positive test so far is largely because of three major factors:

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