Oct 19: MacKinnon has provided two consecutive negative tests, and traveled last night to meet the team in Washington. He is expected to make his debut tonight against the Capitals.
Oct 12: If you thought the COVID Protocol Related Absences list was a thing of the past, you might have jumped the gun. After both the Vegas Golden Knights and Seattle Kraken announced key players were unavailable due to the protocol yesterday, the Colorado Avalanche dropped a bomb today. Nathan MacKinnon will not practice today, with the team announcing it is a protocol-related absence. Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic confirmed that MacKinnon has tested positive and will be out tomorrow. The star forward is asymptomatic and the team hopes he will be able to return in a few days.
To reiterate, inclusion in the protocol does not mean that a player has tested positive for Coronavirus or even that they have been confirmed as a close contact to another positive person. Included in the NHL’s list of possible reasons for someone being on the COVID Protocol Related Absences list–which actually won’t be released for the first time until tomorrow–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.
MacKinnon meanwhile is out indefinitely and could potentially miss tomorrow’s season opener if he is not cleared in time. The Avalanche recently were without head coach Jared Bednar after he tested positive, playing two preseason games without the bench boss. Hopefully, for Colorado’s sake, MacKinnon is not forced to miss even that much time.