The Minnesota Wild have placed Rem Pitlick and Mats Zuccarello in the league’s COVID-19 protocol, after reports surfaced yesterday suggesting that testing had brought back positive results. The team has recalled Connor Dewar, Kyle Rau and Jon Lizotte from the Iowa Wild to reinforce the NHL lineup.
Minnesota did not indicate whether either Pitlick or Zuccarello have tested positive for coronavirus, and it is important to remember that inclusion in the protocol does not mean that a player has. Included in the NHL’s list of possible reasons for someone being on the COVID Protocol Related Absences list are the following:
(1) an initial positive test which remains unconfirmed until confirmatory testing is completed pursuant to the Positive Test Protocol; (2) mandated isolation for symptomatic individuals pursuant to the Positive Test Protocol; (3) required quarantine as a high-risk close contact in accordance with the Positive Test Protocol; (4) isolation based on a confirmed positive test result and/or; (5) quarantine for travel or other reasons as outlined in the COVID-19 Protocol.
The Wild canceled practice yesterday with the test results pending, and now will appear to be without the services of two forwards for tonight’s game against the Seattle Kraken. Michael Russo of The Athletic tweets that the pair will continue to test over the next two days to try and confirm a positive result.
Zuccarello in particular is an extremely important piece for Minnesota, who has averaged more than 18 minutes a night this season and has seven points in six games. The 34-year-old continues to be one of the more effective playmakers in the league, and is coming off a season with 35 points in 42 games.
Pitlick meanwhile made his Wild debut on Tuesday, registering an assist in just over nine minutes of action. The 24-year-old was claimed off waivers earlier this month from the Nashville Predators and has shown a strong goal-scoring ability in the minor leagues. A former Minnesota Golden Gopher, he looks like a nice addition for the Wild early on.