Penguins defenseman John Marino was added on Wednesday to the NHL’s list for “COVID Protocol Related Absences.”
Per the league - absences “can be the result of a number of factors including, among others:
- (1) an initial positive test which remains unconfirmed until confirmatory testing is completed pursuant to the Positive Test Protocol;
- (2) mandated isolation for symptomatic individuals pursuant to the Positive Test Protocol;
- (3) required quarantine as a high-risk close contact in accordance with the Positive Test Protocol;
- (4) isolation based on a confirmed positive test result and/or;
- (5) quarantine for travel or other reasons as outlined in the COVID-19 Protocol.”
This is more bad news for the Penguins defense, already short-handed with five injuries to defensemen.
It’s probably worse news for the NHL, which hasn’t been able to keep it’s players safe and free from the virus. Marino and the rest of the Penguins played against Kaapo Kakko on Saturday night. On Monday, Kakko was added to the COVID-protocol list and was held out for the Rangers/Penguins rematch.
Unfortunately, these types of events are unique and happening with more frequency. Last Saturday Kyle Palmieri of the Devils played in a game against the Sabres. The following day he went on the COVID-protocol list. Fast forward to Tuesday and Buffalo’s Taylor Hall and Rasmus Ristolainen are also now on the list, as did five other Devils, to bring their team total up to 10.
This apparent outbreak for the Devils is the reason the Pens aren’t playing this week, Pittsburgh and New Jersey were scheduled to play Tuesday and Thursday but had those games postponed.
Pittsburgh also played earlier in the season against Washington’s Ilya Samsonov, who tested positive for COVID days later. Fortunately and luckily, no Penguin player ended up on the COVID-protocol list in the days to follow that.
The Pens had a scheduled day off today after returning from New York. It will be worth watching to see if any further players are added to the list in the coming days as more testing is done.
For Marino, if a confirming positive test is made, he will likely be out for at least a week or until he is healthy and tests as such. It’s the last thing the Penguins needed right now. Frankly, it’s the last thing the league needed as well as more and more players apparently become infected or are sidelined with positive tests throughout the league, in only the season’s third week.
According to Chris Johnston, 90 NHL players have already appeared on the COVID-protocol list this season.
The Penguins next scheduled game to be played is Saturday February 6th against the Islanders.