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Kapanen added to the COVID list

Another blow to the Penguins with an eighth player added to the COVID protocol list

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at New Jersey Devils Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Penguins announced a seventh player added to the COVID protocol list today, with Kasperi Kapanen joining the six others placed on it earlier in the week.

It will remain to be seen just how long Kapanen is out, because as you certainly know, it can be very fluid out in the world these days. Recently the NBA amended their isolation periods to six days for players who test positive for the virus. The NFL went a day shorter, in-line with the recent CDC recommendations. The NHL is discussing what their next steps will be, but are a step behind the other pro sports leagues, per usual.

The other Pittsburgh players in COVID protocol currently are: Teddy Blueger, Tristan Jarry, John Marino, Mike Matheson, Evan Rodrigues, Dominik Simon and Pierre-Olivier Joseph. Per coach Mike Sullivan yesterday, all have been reporting little or no symptoms to date, which probably makes for a large list of players able to return quicker than the current 10-day isolation period the NHL is using, if they do opt to change it.

Kapanen joining the list means that the number of Penguin players to avoid COVID protocol this season is down to single digits of nine. They are Brian Boyle, Casey DeSmith, Mark Friedman, Danton Heinen, Sam Lafferty, Evgeni Malkin, Brock McGinn, Drew O’Connor and Jason Zucker.

The Penguins are scheduled to play next in four days, in an afternoon game on Sunday against San Jose. Attempting to predict the landscape in four hours let alone four days can be dangerous these days, but the Sharks did play a game last night in the NHL’s first day back since December 21st. At this point it looks like the Pens could be playing on Sunday, but obviously that is very subject to change at any moment up until the puck drops.

With Kapanen and Lafferty (non COVID illness) out today, the Pens only had 11 healthy forwards on the ice.

If COVID protocols don’t change, it looks like Kasper Bjorkqvist could finally be in-line to make his NHL debut. Malkin working at center is another change and upgrade from yesterday, but likely not much should be read into Carter playing on the wing at the moment in a situation where there are only 11 forwards on the ice, other than the top line the rest is in the blender at this point.