The Washington Capitals, like many teams in the NHL, are dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak on their team. Superstar Evgeny Kuznetsov became the fifth player on Wednesday to enter protocol over the last few weeks.
Not only did Kuzy miss Washington’s 5-4 loss to Chicago, but he will also join Nic Dowd, Trevor van Riemsdyk, and Garnet Hathaway out of the lineup against the Winnipeg Jets on Friday. Washington has three staffers from the team’s traveling party in protocol too.
In response to the disease, the Capitals canceled its Thursday practice in Winnipeg and opted to stay overnight in Chicago after the game. The team announced late Wednesday night that it would instead practice at Fifth Third Arena – the Blackhawks’ community ice rink at 12:30 pm central time and leave for Winnipeg in the afternoon.
Schedule update: #Caps will practice at 12:30 pm on Thursday at Fifth Third Arena with media availability to follow.
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) December 16, 2021
The Capitals’ itinerary changed again on Thursday as the team opted to stay in Chicago for another night and fly to Winnipeg on Friday morning.
Change in travel plans for the #Caps: they’re practicing today in Chicago and will stay over. After another round of testing in the a.m., they’ll fly to Winnipeg for tomorrow’s game. So, yes, they’ll travel on a game day like the preseason. Given the circumstances it makes sense. pic.twitter.com/9qBaf4YoHh
— Tarik El-Bashir (@Tarik_ElBashir) December 16, 2021
Capitals senior writer Mike Vogel explained the team’s rationale in his morning article Skate Shavings.
As the Capitals’ list of ailing/unavailable players hopefully begins to dwindle, the team is still extremely aware of what is going on around and throughout the NHL right now in terms of COVID-19 infections, to the point that on Tuesday night it made an organizational decision to alter its travel plans for the rest of this current road trip.
Washington’s original itinerary had the team departing Chicago for Winnipeg immediately after Wednesday’s game, which is typical of team travel in the League. The Caps were then slated to practice on Thursday afternoon in Winnipeg in preparation for Friday night’s game against the Jets.
There is more lag time in learning test results in Canada, and under current rules, those who test positive while they are north of the border must quarantine for two weeks and aren’t permitted to depart via air during that period of time.
With the Capitals already stretched so thin already due to injury and COVID, a positive test in Canada could cause the Capitals to lose another player for two weeks due to the country’s stricter quarantine rules, making the stakes higher if there’s continued transmission.
The Capitals have been under “enhanced protocol” as a team for more than a week “which includes mandatory masking in team facilities, on planes and buses and in hotels, except while actively eating or working out. It also includes a ban on patronizing restaurants and bars on the road” per Vogel.
“Guys are doing their best to keep their distance from each other as much as you can, but it’s a pandemic,” Nic Dowd said. “I think we’re all going to get this at some point, it’s just how viruses work. But the unfortunate thing is the timing of it. If you get it in the season, it’s so much different than if you get it in the summer or something like that when it affects people’s work.”
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.