Never ask, “what next” around the Pittsburgh Penguins. Never say it can’t get worse.
It can. And, recent history suggests it will. After four NHL regulars, including captain Sidney Crosby, were placed in COVID protocol on Wednesday, head coach Mike Sullivan was placed in COVID protocol on Thursday afternoon.
He will not coach on Thursday night against the Philadelphia Flyers. Assistant coach Todd Reirden will handle those duties.
“It’s all happened quickly. Without having a morning skate today–pushing our schedule back so we don’t have as much contact with each other–these are the cards we’ve been dealt,” Rierden said. “…I don’t feel tonight will go any differently. We’ll have our coaching staff (except Sullivan)…”
Reirden also said Sullivan is symptomatic.
Sullivan is the ninth Penguins person to be placed in protocol. In chronological order beginning in training camp: Zach Aston-Reese, Jake Guentzel, Jeff Carter, Kris Letang, Sidney Crosby, Brian Dumoulin, Marcus Pettersson, and Chad Ruhwedel.
Dumoulin, Pettersson, and Ruhwedel entered protocol this week.
“It will be Mike Sullivan’s message, and I’ll be the one delivering it,” Reirden said of his fill-in duty.
The Penguins lines are dramatically reconfigured, as are the defensive pairings. In the PHN pregame preview, you can get the lines, notes, and what to watch against the Flyers.
Sullivan, 53, is in his seventh season as the Pittsburgh Penguins head coach.