The Tampa Bay Lightning have returned from the holiday break with six players in COVID protocols as they get ready for their scheduled matchup with the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday Night.
Both goalies Brian Elliott and Andrei Vasilevskiy are in the protocol, defensemen Mikhail Sergachev, forwards Pierre-Eduardo Bellemare, Anthony Cirelli, and recently called up defensemen Andrej Sustr.
Assistant coach Rob Zettler has also entered the protocol. Head coach Jon Cooper has been in the protocol since December 21st in Las Vegas.
All players were asymptomatic or had mild symptoms. The team is 100 vaccinated, and Steven Stamkos has indicated that the Lightning has received their booster shots.
The NHL shut down on December 22nd for an extra two days before the scheduled Christmas break and then extended that break an extra day through December 27th to give teams and players some time to deal with the virus.
The league also let the players know they will not participate in the Winter Olympics in February. The league has a three-week break in their schedule allotted for Olympic participation, but it looks like the NHL will need those dates to make up the slate of postponed games around the league.
With no goalie available for practice, goalie coach Frantz Jean and emergency backup goalie Kyle Konin filled in.
Last week, the league re-introduced taxi squads that teams will put together to help ensure that they have enough players to suit up for a game. Tuesday’s game against Montreal is still on as the Canadiens are scheduled to fly to Tampa late Monday.
The Lightning has the best record in the NHL at the break at 20-6-4 despite missing Nikita Kucherov, Braydon Point, and Erik Cernak for the better part of the season.