Game time pushed back by one hour after Edmonton Oilers’ player placed in NHL’s COVID protocol

Game time pushed back by one hour after Edmonton Oilers’ player placed in NHL’s COVID protocol

Author of the article:

Bruce McCurdy  •  Edmonton Journal

Publishing date:

Feb 12, 2021  •  10 hours ago  •  5 minute read

Winnipeg Jets defenceman Derek Forbort (left) deals with Edmonton Oilers forward Jesse Puljujarvi in front of goaltender Laurent Brossoit in Winnipeg on Sun., Jan. 24, 2021. Photo by Kevin King /Postmedia

Game Day 16: Edmonton at Montreal

UPDATE: 5: 30 pm

(Note: the chronology of this post is in reverse order, as news has been breaking throughout the day. Let’s start with the latest.)

Tonight’s game is officially on in Montreal, even as it will start an hour late with a couple of line-up changes for the Edmonton Oilers.

Oilers GM Ken Holland says they are good to go for tonight. They waited on the expedited test results today and once they got them, headed to the Bell Centre. So looks like Game On.

— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) February 11, 2021

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

In addition to Jesse Puljujarvi, who has been placed on the NHL’s COVID protocol list, the Oilers will also be without their other Finn, netminder Mikko Koskinen, who was scheduled to back up Mike Smith tonight. That sounds to be a precautionary move; as per 630CHED‘s Bob Stauffer, the two Finns do spend time together including on flights, and Koskinen was not scheduled to play in any event. In his place on the bench will be Dylan Wells, activated from the taxi squad on an emergency basis.

Edmonton Oiler transactions: Dylan Wells (G) recalled to Edmonton on emergency basis. This could mean something regarding Mikko Koskinen and the team playing things very safe..

— Gene Principe (@GenePrincipe) February 12, 2021

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

Other than the change at backup goalie, the rest of the projected line-up at bottom is confirmed.

UPDATE: 3: 00pm

It is official that Jesse Puljujarvi has been placed on the NHL’s COVID protocol list.

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

_____

UPDATE 2: 00pm MST

The start time of tonight’s Edmonton Oilers at Montreal Canadiens has been delayed by one hour to 6: 00pm MST. According to a league announcement:

“As a result of an Edmonton Oilers’ player entering the League’s COVID Protocol earlier today, the League announced a change to the start time of their game against the Canadiens tonight from 7 P.M. to 8 P.M. ET so as to allow for the completion and analysis of Oilers’ test results in advance of the game.”

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

The player in question is now confirmed as Jesse Puljujarvi, who was held out of this morning’s Game Day skate for unspecified reasons (see our earlier Game Day post immediately below).

Oilers asked for expedited processing of PCR daily team testing in time for tonight’s game plus also had extra testing done of Puljujarvi and some of the players in his orbit (sits with him on plane, bus, etc)
So awaiting all those results. But Puljujarvi is out either way https://t.co/9HT8wNsBvl

— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) February 11, 2021

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

Presumably, the delayed start time is a best case scenario. If there is anything amiss in the pre-game testing, the game may be subject to postponement.

More details in this story from the Montreal Gazette, also in this article by the Edmonton Journal‘s Derek Van Diest.

_____

Edmonton Oilers took to the ice for their Game Day skate in Montreal this morning minus a key player, as right winger Jesse Puljujarvi was nowhere to be seen.

Coach Dave Tippett later advised that Puljujarvi was withheld from the skate for “precautionary reasons” and that his status will be re-evaluated this afternoon. Who knows exactly what that means in these troublesome times. When later pressed by a Montreal reporter for details as to whether it was for injury or other reason, Tippett wouldn’t elaborate, simply saying he’d been advised by the training staff to hold J.P. out of the morning skate.

What does seem certain is that the Oilers would be a lesser team in his absence. Puljujarvi has sparkled in recent games since being promoted to the first line with Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, but if this morning’s skate is any indication, James Neal will line up in J.P.’s spot tonight.

The Oilers reach the end of a tough four-game road trip in the Bell Centre tonight, one that has taken a physical toll on the squad. After coming out on the short end of a 6-4 decision in Calgary Saturday night, the club managed to sweep a pair of tight, physical encounters in Ottawa.

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

For all that the Oilers came away from Ottawa with four points, they didn’t come for free. At least three players were banged up in the first of those, including Zack Kassian who was placed on Long Term Injured Reserve. Veterans Kris Russell and Neal both missed the second game on Tuesday after getting drilled with shots. Leon Draisaitl also took either a stick or puck to the face in the final minute of that contest, and while he suited up for the return contest he was clearly off his game.

The Senators continued to play a hard-hitting game on Tuesday, with Puljujarvi one of the recipients when he got crunched right in the numbers by Nikita Zaitsev during the third period.

It seems Neal is ready to go, and just in time. The veteran had his own physical issues that led to a late start to his season, and has struggled to get going playing at left wing in the bottom six. But by all appearances he will move up the line-up and over to his preferred spot at right wing.

____

It’s been a grueling few days for the Oilers with 4 games in 6 days, and the schedule-maker did them no favours by scheduling the first of those games in the west, further reducing their rest time. Indeed, the club played three games within a 72-hour span, during which time Tippett leaned heavily on his most important minute-munchers.

Ice time, last 4 days:

McDavid 73: 02
Draisaitl 70: 20
Nuge 61: 51

Nurse 79: 45
Barrie 72: 51

With an eastern flight in there they literally played 3 games within 72 hours. Any wonder some of these guys didn’t have much jump in their step last night?

— Bruce McCurdy (@BruceMcCurdy) February 10, 2021

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

McDavid and Draisaitl played over 55 minutes between them in Calgary, including the last 5: 45 of regulation time for both players, making them the joint record holders for the longest shift since that information began being compiled in 2007. Not hard to draw at least a dotted line between that heavy usage and the duo’s relative ineffectiveness in Ottawa on Tuesday. Fortunately, the supporting cast from the bottom six (5 assists) to the defence corps (all 3 goals) to netminder Mikko Koskinen (40 saves) delivered the goods in what turned out to be the first Oilers’ victory without a point from either of their transcendent stars since 2017!

Tonight Mike Smith returns to the Oilers’ net after making a stellar season debut on Monday, as Tippett looks to re-establish the goalie rotation that worked fairly successfully for his club last season.

Tonight’s projected line-up

No changes projected other than Smith getting the start and Neal tentatively in for Puljujarvi. If J.P. is deemed able to play, chances are that Neal will slot in at 4LW and Devin Shore will sit.

Not impossible that the defence group may be changed up but with three of them having scored last game and the other three having contributed some staunch defensive play, the best guess here is that Tippett will maintain the status quo.

The Canadiens have rest issues of their own, having played a home game vs. Toronto last night, which they lost 4-2. With #1 stopper Carey Price having played in that contest, they’ll turn to backup Jake Allen tonight. That’s not as big a break as it might seem, given Allen’s sparkling early season performance (4-1-0, 1.81, .940) including a 3-1 win in Edmonton on Jan 18.

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

Recently at the Cult of Hockey

Follow me on Twitter @BruceMcCurdy

Edmonton Journal Headline News

Sign up to receive daily headline news from the Edmonton Journal, a division of Postmedia Network Inc.

By clicking on the sign up button you consent to receive the above newsletter from Postmedia Network Inc. You may unsubscribe any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of our emails. Postmedia Network Inc. | 365 Bloor Street East, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 3L4 | 416-383-2300

CBD Oil, 9 Reasons To Love The New Cannabinoid
Find out more