COVID-19 is cutting a swath through the Detroit Red Wings. Goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic, forwards Carter Rowney and Givani Smith, head coach Jeff Blashill and assistant coach Alex Tanguay are all entering COVID-19 protocol, the team was announcing on Saturday.
Previously, forwards Robby Fabbri and Michael Rasmussen were placed into COVID-19 protcol.
Blashill, Tanguay, Rowney and Smith all displayed positive tests on Friday. Nedeljkovic was the lone Red Wings player to display a positive test on Saturday morning.
Despite the absence of five players and two of the club’s three bench coaches, Saturday’s game against the New Jersey Devils at Little Caesars Arena is going ahead as planned.
“Other teams have gone through this earlier than us the last 2-3 weeks,” Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman said of his team playing a game minus five players and their head coach. “We just keep adding players.
“As long as we have bodies, players that we can recall, we’ll ice the best team we can and go from there.”
Simon Will Coach Red Wings
Grand Rapids head coach Ben Simon and assistant coach Todd Krygier are coming up to work the bench along with Red Wings assistant coach Doug Houda.
According to Yzerman, Simon will be running the bench for tonight’s game.
“It’s my understanding that Ben was going to be the acting head coach and Doug would remain in his role running the D,” Yzerman said. “It is a fluid situation, so that may have changed from my last conversation with Jeff Blashill.”
As well, goaltender Calvin Pickard and forward Riley Barber are also coming up to Detroit from GR for Saturday’s game. Forwards Taro Hirose and Kyle Criscuolo got a recall when Rasmussen and Fabbri wound up entering COVID protocol.
Monday’s Red Wings game at LCA against the Colorado Avalanche is already in postponement due to a COVID-19 outbreak amongst the Avalanche roster. The AHL ended up calling off both of Grand Rapids’ weekend contests against the Toronto Marlies following a COVID outbreak within the Toronto squad.
Tuesday’s Red Wings game at Minnesota against the Wild is still set to go ahead as scheduled.