For the first time since Feb. 13, the Blackhawks have a player on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list.
Rookie forward Brandon Hagel was placed on the list Friday, one day after playing and scoring a goal in the Hawks’ 4-3 loss to the Hurricanes.
Placement on the COVID-19 list doesn’t necessarily mean Hagel tested positive, however. Contract tracing, unconfirmed results and rule violations can also land a player on the list.
The Hawks held practice Friday with the rest of the team present. Philipp Kurashev moved into Hagel’s spot on the second line next to David Kampf and Dominik Kubalik, while Kirby Dach was elevated to first-line center between Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat.
This is the team’s first direct brush with COVID-19 since late January through the first half of February, when Alex DeBrincat, Adam Boqvist, Nicolas Beaudin, Ryan Carpenter and Lucas Wallmark all spent time on the list. Boqvist, Carpenter and Wallmark experienced bouts of the virus with mild symptoms while DeBrincat and Beaudin never actually tested positive.
Cases have rapidly declined over the past two months around the NHL but have begun to tick up again lately. The Canucks are currently experiencing an outbreak, with eight players reportedly testing positive Friday.
“We’re still in [the pandemic], no doubt,” coach Jeremy Colliton said. “[We’re] definitely moving closer hopefully to the end than the beginning at this point. Everyone can get excited about things happening. But just like everything else, you have to take it day to day.”