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Golden Knights to face Ducks on Thursday despite COVID issues

Updated February 10, 2021 - 5:32 pm

It’s game on for the Golden Knights despite another positive COVID-19 test.

The NHL announced Thursday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks at T-Mobile Arena would be played as scheduled after Knights forward Tomas Nosek entered the league’s COVID protocol.

Nosek was removed from the game Tuesday and did not play in the third period of the Knights’ 5-4 victory over the Ducks. The NHL confirmed in a statement Wednesday that Nosek tested positive for COVID-19 and was in isolation.

The Knights canceled their practice Wednesday at City National Arena and did not have media availability.

“From our standpoint here and with our players, it was a topic last night. Of course it is,” Anaheim coach Dallas Eakins said after the Ducks’ practice Wednesday. “We are concerned for the player and for the organization that had the positive test. But we are firm in our beliefs in how we’re doing things here with our team and what the league is doing their best to keep us safe.”

Nosek’s positive result is expected to keep him out at least 10 days and is the latest in a string of COVID-related issues for the Knights.

Three games were postponed and rescheduled by the league while three members of the coaching staff and two players were in isolation in accordance with COVID protocol. An additional game originally scheduled for Feb. 26 at Anaheim also was rescheduled.

The team’s facility was closed starting Jan. 27 to follow league protocols before they returned to practice Feb. 3.

Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo was removed from the NHL’s list of COVID protocol-related absences Tuesday, and Nosek was the only player for either team included Wednesday. The league did not classify any players from the Knights or Ducks as a high-risk close contact.

Pietrangelo is expected to play Thursday after missing three games.

Eakins and Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm said Wednesday they found out after the game that a Knights player tested positive.

The Knights canceled their postgame media availability to follow COVID protocol. Anaheim’s Troy Terry spoke to the media on Zoom after the game, but the Ducks declined to make Eakins or any additional players available.

“After the game, it’s basically league protocol. We want to make sure everybody’s safe,” Eakins said. “Obviously the other team had a positive case, and that puts everybody on red alert. I certainly didn’t want to be sitting in a media room where other people had been and you’re not quite sure what’s going on.

“It’s a good call by the league when that happens just to shut it down and get everybody away from each other. It’s as simple as that.”

The Silver Knights’ American Hockey League exhibition game Jan. 30 was canceled after the second period when a positive test for a San Jose player was confirmed during the game.

Eakins said he was not surprised Tuesday’s game continued when Nosek’s positive test result was returned and did not have a problem with the decision.

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly declined to comment when asked in an email why test results are returned during the game and whether the NHL is looking to rectify that issue.

The league announced the Knights and Ducks will be administered rapid PCR tests before Thursday’s game in addition to daily lab-based testing.

Lindholm also brushed off concerns about in-game transmission from team to team despite what occurred between Buffalo and New Jersey.

Those teams met Jan. 30 and 31 despite a growing number of Devils players entering COVID protocol and combined Wednesday to have 26 players on the COVID absence list.

“You’re more concerned and hope everyone in Vegas is staying safe and hopefully not too many guys got it,” Lindholm said. “Hopefully we can keep playing games here and keep going on in the season. … I think, from my standpoint, I’m not too worried right now.”

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

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