The New Jersey Devils didn’t actually end up playing last night due to an electrical issue in the rink, but there was an issue with the roster even before the scoreboard went dark. Mackenzie Blackwood, who was originally scheduled to play the first two periods for the Devils, didn’t hit the ice with the team for warmup. Corey Masisak of The Athletic reported this morning that it was because Blackwood, one of the handful of players who have decided not to be vaccinated, had inconclusive COVID-19 test results. According to Masisak, the team is expecting to know for sure one way or the other on Blackwood’s status by Sunday.
When both Blackwood and Jonathan Bernier were missing from today’s practice, speculation ramped up that it was because he would be a close contact as the other goaltender. That is not the case, as Bernier was taking a maintenance day, not because of anything to do with Blackwood’s status. While testing positive is certainly a possibility for every player in the league, vaccinated or not, the fact that Blackwood has declined means that should he miss regular season action because of a positive case, the Devils could suspend him without pay.
- If there was any hope that Jared Bednar would be back quicker than expected from his positive test, it didn’t come true today. Bednar was still absent from Colorado Avalanche practice today according to Mike Chambers of the Denver Post, with skills coach Shawn Allard leading the drills instead. When the Avalanche announced Bednar’s status earlier this week, they included that he would be out for the team’s final two preseason games. One of those came yesterday, a loss at the hands of the Dallas Stars, and the other comes tomorrow in the back half of the home-and-home.
- The Seattle Kraken haven’t had Calle Jarnkrok on the ice the last few days, and today head coach Dave Hakstol explained why. Jarnkrok has been put into the league’s COVID protocol, meaning he can’t join his teammates on the ice and is out indefinitely. Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times confirms that Jarnkork is vaccinated, meaning that he will be able to return once he registers a confirmed negative test. It is not clear if Jarnkrok tested positive, only that he has entered the protocol for some reason.