The list of Colorado Avalanche players in COVID-19 protocol is up to five after forwards Andre Burakovsky and J.T. Compher, defenseman Cale Makar and goaltender Darcy Kuemper joined defenseman Devon Toews on Thursday. The Avalanche were scheduled to play the Nashville Predators on Thursday night.
Colorado coach Jared Bednar said he didn’t think either Compher or Burakovsky was symptomatic. Toews was symptomatic and is expected to be unavailable until at least Christmas.
Kuemper was named the starter Thursday but about a half hour before puck drop, the team announced he, too, had entered protocol.
Minutes before the start of the game, the team announced Makar was in the protocol as well.
Backup goaltender Pavel Francouz is set to make his first NHL regular-season start since March 11, 2020.
The Avalanche recalled defenseman Jordan Gross on Wednesday. Kurtis MacDermid, usually a defenseman, moves up to forward. Bednar said Colorado would go with six - later five, with Makar ruled out - defensemen and 11 forwards, instead of the usual 12, due to salary-cap constraints.
Nashville is currently one of the most depleted teams in the NHL. Forwards Mikael Granlund, Matt Luff, Michael McCarron, Philip Tomasino and defenseman Ben Harpur, head coach John Hynes, assistant coach Dan Lambert, assistant coach Todd Richards and goaltending coach Ben Vanderklok joined unavailable forward Ryan Johansen on Wednesday. Forward Nick Cousins was added to the list Thursday along with assistant coach Dan Hinote, who was supposed to fill in for Hynes as head coach against the Avalanche.
Karl Taylor, head coach of the Predators’ AHL affiliate, assistant coach Scott Ford and assistant general manager Scott Nichol are set to be behind the bench Thursday night, the team announced.
“We're here and we’re ready to play, so I’m hoping that we’re playing,” Bednar said. “They’re missing guys, we’re missing guys now too.”