The Washington Capitals will be without assistant coach Scott Allen when they take the ice against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night.
The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir reports that Allen is in the NHL’s COVID protocol The Massachusetts native is normally in charge of the team’s forward group and penalty kill.
Allen is the second member of the team to enter protocol after returning from Christmas break. Forward Nicklas Backstrom was announced to be in it on Wednesday and has now missed two days of practice after not skating at Thursday’s morning skate.
This is also not the first COVID-related absence the coaching staff has faced this season. Assistant coach Kevin McCarthy was forced into a head coaching role in November when Peter Laviolette entered protocol. Now it’s Allen’s “turn” to sit.
The Caps promoted Allen from head coach of the Hershey Bears to the NHL bench as one of Laviolette’s assistants last July. One of his main tasks was to improve the team’s penalty kill which finished twelfth best in the league last season at 80.4 percent and hung around that area of the rankings the entire year.
“I’d like to keep [the Capitals’ penalty kill] in the upper part of the National Hockey League, that’s for sure,” Allen said this past summer. “I think penalty kill for sure can be a difference maker night in, night out in the NHL.”
So far, so good. The Capitals currently have the sixth-best kill in the league at 81.7-percent effectiveness. They have also done so with ever-changing personnel due to a plague of injuries. 16 different skaters have seen legitimate time shorthanded for the Caps this season.
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB
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