The Edmonton Oilers will be without Kris Russell for the next little while, as he was placed in the COVID protocol today. He hasn’t played since the team returned from the United States, and had been ruled out with an “undisclosed” injury, suggesting that he did receive a positive test result at some point in the last few days. The team has not confirmed that or how long Russell will be sidelined, only listing him in the protocol.
Russell, 34, has played in just 24 games for the Oilers this season, missing a good chunk of the year on long-term injured reserve. In fact, he has received that designation on two separate occasions this season, only being activated most recently on March 17. In the four games since then, Russell has actually shown rather well, and overall on the year he’s been fine in his depth role.
Some fans may even have missed his physical, shot-blocking presence when the Oilers gave up nine goals to the Calgary Flames on Saturday night, though it’s certainly not clear his 15-minutes a night would have made much of a difference. In that game, the team leaned heavily on Tyson Barrie, including more than three minutes of short-handed ice time for the usually offensive defenseman.
Russell will not be available for tonight’s game against the Arizona Coyotes, though it is unclear whether he will be back for the team’s other two matches this week, both at home against strong Western Conference opponents.