AP -- More than a quarter of NHL teams have been shut down through at least the weekend because of the pandemic.

The Columbus Blue Jackets and Montreal Canadiens became the eighth and ninth teams to have activities paused because of several positive COVID-19 test results among players.

A total of 42 games have been postponed this season for coronavirus-related reasons. Roughly 10% of the league's players are in virus protocol.

The spread of delta and omicron variants across North America has led the NHL to postpone all cross-border games through the Christmas break and made Olympic participation unlikely.