If the realities of playing professional sports during a pandemic weren't made evident through the Carolina Hurricanes’ abbreviated training camp and the first game of the season, tonight we’re going to get a front-row seat to see just how the ever-present specter of COVID-19 will make nightly lineup changes a regular occurrence.
The Hurricanes will be without their captain tonight after the league announced yesterday that Jordan Staal was in the NHL's COVID protocol. The league is handling all COVID-related announcements, and no further detail is available about Staal’s absence, which could be from a positive test, a contract tracing issue, or any number of other issues. The results of today’s tests could result in additional players missing the game through either positive tests or contact tracing, and the NHL will announce any other players added to the COVID protocol by 5:00 today.
With Staal out, Morgan Geekie will get the call from the taxi squad, centering the third line while Vincent Trocheck moves up to play with Andrei Svechnikov and Martin Necas. Petr Mrazek is slated to make his second consecutive start after earning a shutout on Thursday night. Here’s how the Hurricanes will take the ice, pending any additional COVID complications:
Nino Niederreiter - Sebastian Aho - Teuvo Teravainen
Andrei Svechnikov - Vincent Trocheck - Martin Necas
Warren Foegele - Morgan Geekie - Jesper Fast
Ryan Dzingel - Jordan Martinook - Brock McGinn
Jaccob Slavin - Dougie Hamilton
Brady Skjei - Brett Pesce
Jake Gardiner - Haydn Fleury
Scratch: Jordan Staal (COVID protocol)
Taxi squad: Max McCormick, Steven Lorentz, Jake Bean, Joakim Ryan, Alex Nedeljkovic
The Red Wings got two players, Adam Erne and Bobby Ryan, back from minor knocks in time for Thursday’s game, sending Frans Nielsen and Michael Rasmussen to the bench. They will still be without Darren Helm and Christian Djoos due to COVID protocol absences, but otherwise they will look very familiar, with the exception of in goal, where Jonathan Bernier will make his first start of the season after Thomas Greiss had to face a 43-shot onslaught in the season opener while taking the loss.
Here’s how the Red Wings will look tonight:
Tyler Bertuzzi - Dylan Larkin - Anthony Mantha
Filip Zadina - Robby Fabbri - Bobby Ryan
Vladislav Namestnikov - Valtteri Filppula - Sam Gagner
Matthias Brome - Luke Glendening - Adam Erne
Patrik Nemeth - Filip Hronek
Danny DeKeyser - Jon Merrill
Marc Staal - Troy Stecher
Scratches: Christian Djoos (COVID protocol), Darren Helm (COVID protocol), Frans Nielsen (healthy), Michael Rasmussen (healthy), Alex Biega (healthy)
Taxi squad: Dennis Cholowski, Gustav Lindstrom, Kevin Boyle, Calvin Pickard, Givani Smith