COVID-19 Hits NHL Lineups From East To West … And Now North Of The Border

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As the Ottawa Senators traveled south of the border Monday without Connor Brown, Dylan Gambell, Nick Holden, Austin Watson and assistant coach Jack Capuano, a related situation was brewing in San Jose.


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The Sharks came north for games against Calgary and Winnipeg without six regular players, including former Senators captain Erik Karlsson. Head coach Bob Boughner, head coach and team manager also lagged behind.

COVID-19 continues to hit the NHL with as much force as injuries, the list of protocol players getting longer and longer. As of November 8, 46 players have been on the protocol roster this season.

In Pittsburgh, the Penguins have had seven players out of the lineup this season due to the virus, including Jeff Carter and Kris Letang. Last week, Captain Sidney Crosby and Coach Mike Sullivan went into isolation from COVID-19.

The first thing Crosby could return to the lineup would be Nov. 13, when the Penguins, coincidentally, visit the Canadian Tire Center to face the Senators.


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Meanwhile, the St. Louis Blues have already faced the losses of Captain Ryan O’Reilly, Brandon Saad, Torey Krug, Ville Husso, Kyle Clifford and Niko Mikkola this season due to the virus.

So as difficult as it may be for the Senators to deal with their COVID-19 setback as they try to break out of the slump that has seen them lose seven of their last eight games, there is no sympathy anywhere else.

Teams have no choice but to continue to the best of their ability with American Hockey League replacements as well as injuries, hoping to hold out while they wait for players to return as soon as possible.

Per the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol guidelines, players who test positive must remain in isolation for at least 10 days.


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The consolation of all the above is that with vaccinated players, the symptoms, in most cases, are not severe.

“The people who have had COVID that I have talked to have not had many symptoms,” Blues general manager Doug Armstrong told reporters on Friday after Krug tested positive. “So the positive thing is that the vaccines seem to be working and the symptoms that the players are having are very mild.

“In today’s world, it is very difficult to stop it. The societies are open now, our players are doing the best they can, but I think it is the reality of the world today that if you test every three days, you are going to find people (with positive tests). “

The Senators and the Penguins are among the teams now undergoing daily testing.


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The Blues, facing the salary cap, have faced an additional problem in which they have to be careful who they remember from the AHL. For example, top defensive prospect Scott Perunovich, who would have been the obvious call to retire Krug, would have forced the Blues to exceed the salary cap if he had joined St. Louis.

In the first month of the season, there has been some severe star power on the sidelines due to COVID-19, including Mark Scheifele in Winnipeg and Patrick Kane in Chicago, among others.

And then there’s Crosby, who missed the start of the season while recovering from off-season wrist surgery. He played only one game before testing positive.

“He has worked very hard to get to this point and we were all very excited that he was back in the lineup and back in the fold,” Sullivan said. “This just puts another obstacle in the way. But we will control what we can here. We have capable people. And we hope Sid will be back soon. “

And then Sullivan tested positive himself.

When COVID-19 hits, it is an important test of the depth of an organization.

The Sharks played seven rookies in Saturday’s 3-2 shootout loss to the New Jersey Devils.

Now the senators will try to fill the gaps with summons that include Erik Brannstrom, Egor Sokolov and Scott Sabourin.

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