The Montreal Canadiens have announced three positive tests for COVID-19. The news comes at a time when the league and its teams are resuming operations for a restart in early August. The players’ names were withheld due to privacy. Arpon Basu of The Athletic was among those to break the news early Sunday afternoon.
— Аrpon Basu (@ArponBasu) July 12, 2020
Canadiens Announce Positive COVID-19 Tests
This is the latest potential setback to the impending restart. Defenceman Karl Alzner recently announced his opt-out for the restart. Max Domi will also miss the first week or more of the restart’s training camp. Montreal is not going to miss Alzner’s zero points in four games but he is an experienced defender with almost 700 NHL games. He could have been a spare blueliner as a Black Ace.
However, an extended absence for Domi beyond the first 7-10 days would be a significant challenge. The 24-year-old had the third-most points with 17 goals and 44 points in 71 games. Domi was behind only Tomas Tatar and Phillip Danault on team scoring. Domi is unlikely to miss much of training camp but his absence will underscore how health conditions such as Type I diabetes looms over hockey in a pandemic.
What This Means for the Future
The NHL is taking every precaution it can but that might not be enough. Several players have opted-out in recent days including Mike Green, Sven Baertschi, and Steven Kampfer. Teams cannot announce which players test positive without player permission but positive tests might push more players to sit out of the remainder of 2019-20. We do not know how many positive tests the league needs before it removes a team from the restart entirely but any number is not good. The restart’s training camp begins tomorrow. Players have until 5 PM EST to remove themselves from the restart without penalty. More players could do so in the next day after this news.
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