Recently the Penguins have been battered by COVID with four players and head coach Mike Sullivan testing positive for the virus and being placed in the league’s protocol. On Tuesday, the somewhat acting temporary replacement coach of Todd Reirden delivered some good news on the front about defensemen Chad Ruhwedel and Marcus Pettersson.
Coach Reirden: "Chad [Ruhwedel] and Marcus [Pettersson] both went through the final stage of their protocol this morning. They both skated in Cranberry today. The other players and coach are still in the protocol."— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) November 9, 2021
Both defenders were added to the list last week, and yesterday would mark the 10 day mark to advance through further testing in order to be cleared to return to the lineup. It’s encouraging to see, especially for Pettersson who was said to be dealing with minor symptoms last week. Ruhwedel was said to be asymptomatic.
This season players like Jeff Carter and Kris Letang have been placed back in the lineup quickly after clearing the protocols, so there could be a possibility for either or both of Pettersson and Ruhwedel to be available tomorrow night for the Penguins’ next game against the Florida Panthers.
That will be a welcome return, as the Pens have had to lean heavily on Letang, Mike Matheson and John Marino in recent games, giving only marginal minutes to lower-lineup players pushed up a notched in Mark Friedman and Juuso Riikola.
With the path clearing up for Pettersson and Ruhwedel in the coming days to return, all attention will turn to Sidney Crosby and Brian Dumoulin, the remaining players in the protocol. Both are about three or four days in the process behind the defenders that cleared today. Reirden also had a bit of an update about the captain.
Coach Reirden on Crosby: “I have spoken to Sid on a couple of different occasions, whether through text or phone calls. Obviously it's a disappointing situation for him to have to go through, but he's going through the protocol and is excited to get back helping our team." pic.twitter.com/Sz1v6ZZGaL— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) November 9, 2021