The Washington Capitals were mainly dealing with injuries to open the season, but now, they find themselves dealing with COVID-19.
Washington’s entire staff and roster is vaccinated and went into the season 100 percent vaxxed. Still, breakthroughs happen, and that’s what the team finds themselves dealing with right now.
Here is where the team currently stands and the latest surrounding the COIVD-19 situation.
Right now, three Capitals are on COVID-19 protocol: Nic Dowd, Trevor van Riemsdyk and Garnet Hathaway. Dowd missed Friday’s practice with an “illness,” and subsequently entered protocol that afternoon. Van Riemsdyk entered protocol on Saturday, and Hathaway joined the list on Monday.
As a result, head coach Peter Laviolette and the team worked to social distance amid the outbreak.
“Just with the way things have gone in the last 48 hours, we’re trying to keep guys apart,” Laviolette explained on Monday. “Talked to the guys real quick on the ice. Instead of putting them into a confined room. Just doing whatever we can to stay as safe as we can. Just the world we’re living in right now. We can only do the best that we can to stay distanced, stay apart.”
After Monday’s 4-3 shootout victory over the Anaheim Ducks, Washington had a scheduled day off on Tuesday and took an extra day off on Wednesday out of caution. On Thursday, the team returned to MedStar Capitals Iceplex for practice, with Dowd, TVR and Hathaway still on COVID-19 protocol. Goalie coach Scott Murray also entered protocol and missed Thursday’s practice.
There was a slight scare with Carl Hagelin also missing Thursday’s skate due to illness and the morning tests pending. However, all tests came back negative for the staff and players, per the team.
No additional players have entered the protocol since Monday.
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Lars Eller was the first Capitals skater to be impacted by COVID-19 this season. He tested positive on the team’s West Coast swing and had to quarantine in Anaheim for 10 days while missing six games. Eller said he had mild flu-like symptoms, but didn’t have any issues with his lungs or breathing.
“No one else on the team got it, nobody in my house got it. I don’t know, I have no idea where I got it from… it’s really odd. I’ve just been extremely unlucky, I guess.” Eller said of his experience with coronavirus.
It’s unclear where the current outbreak rose from. Washington did face Carolina on Nov. 28, and after the game, Tony DeAngelo and Brett Pesce entered COVID protocol. However, it’s impossible to know if that exact matchup and the COVID outbreak are related in any way.
Last season, Washington saw Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov and Ilya Samsonov end up on the NHL’s COVID-19 list early in the year after breaking protocol and socializing in a hotel room without masks. Kuznetsov and Samsonov both tested positive for the virus. Samsonov said he had trouble breathing and walking after his experience with COVID, and Kuznetsov ended up testing positive twice.