Vegas Golden Knights player Tomas Nosek was pulled from game vs. Anaheim Ducks after positive COVID-19 test
Tuesday night, the NHL abruptly called off news conferences after the Anaheim Ducks-Vegas Golden Knights game.
Wednesday, the league shed light on the reason: A COVID-19 test had come back positive for a Golden Knights player in the middle of the game.
“Immediately upon notification that one of its players had returned a positive test for COVID-19, the Vegas Golden Knights removed forward Tomas Nosek from Tuesday night’s game vs. Anaheim, in precise accordance with the terms of the league’s COVID protocol,” the NHL said in a statement. “Nosek was immediately isolated from his teammates and close contact tracing was begun.”
Nosek had played 13 shifts in the game, including the final shift of the second period, and didn’t return for the third. He was on the league’s COVID-19 protocol list that was released Wednesday night.
Ducks coach Dallas Eakins praised the league for canceling the news conferences.
“I certainly didn’t want to be sitting in a media room where other people had been and you’re not quite sure about what’s going on,” he told reporters. “It’s a good call by the league, I think, to shut it down and get everyone away from each other.”
The Golden Knights had coronavirus issues earlier in the season when the entire coaching staff sat out a Jan. 26 game against the St. Louis Blues, with general manager Kelly McCrimmon going behind the bench.
Their next three games were postponed, their practice facility was closed and they didn’t return to action until last Friday.
The Golden Knights and Colorado Avalanche, who are currently on COVID-19 pause, are scheduled to play outdoors Feb. 20 at Lake Tahoe.
The league said Thursday’s Ducks-Golden Knights game remains on for the moment. It plans to administer rapid tests, in addition to the regular PCR tests, to all players and staff before making a decision.
So far this season, 35 games have been postponed. Sunday’s Philadelphia-New York Rangers contest was postponed Wednesday because three Flyers are on the COVID-19 protocol list. The league recently adopted additional COVID-19 measures.
The Ducks have escaped cases so far, but Eakins noted that a team can follow the protocols exactly “and you can still get it. You can get it from your kids.”
“Your mindset has to be that eventually it’s coming and we’re going to be ready for that,” he added. “We see what’s going around the league. We don’t think we’re immune to those things, but we certainly do aspire to be the team that it doesn’t get into the room. Can we 100 percent prevent that? No, we can’t, but we can be our best to be that team.”