The Washington Capitals announced prior to their game against the Winnipeg Jets on Friday (8 PM ET, NBC Sports Washington in-market, ESPN+ out-of-market) that center Nicklas Backstrom has been placed in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol.
The 34-year-old made his season debut in the team’s 5-4 overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday after missing the first 28 games with a hip injury. He recorded an assist.
Backstrom did not travel to Winnipeg with the team after testing on Friday and headed back to Washington.
Center Evgeny Kuznetsov and right-wing Garnet Hathaway are also in COVID-19 protocol. Center Nic Dowd and defenseman Trevor Van Riemsdyk will also not play against the Jets due to Canada’s COVID-19 restrictions. Both played against the Blackhawks after missing four games with COVID-19.
Per an NHL’s press release from last season, the reason a player is listed as “unavailable” due to COVID-19 protocol includes: (1) an initial positive test which remains unconfirmed until confirmatory testing is completed; (2) mandated isolation for symptomatic individuals; (3) required quarantine as a high-risk close contact; (4) isolation based on a confirmed positive test result and/or; (5) quarantine for travel or other reasons.
The Capitals will return from their road trip after Friday’s game and are scheduled to host the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday.
15 NHL games have been postponed due to COVID-19 in the last week. The Calgary Flames, Florida Panthers, and Colorado Avalanche were all shut down through Christmas due to the virus on Friday.
By Harrison Brown