Blackhawks' Hardman, Lankinen miss practice due to protocols
Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Kevin Lankinen Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Blackhawks' Mike Hardman, Kevin Lankinen miss practice due to COVID-19 protocols

The Chicago Blackhawks have become the latest North American sports entity to offer a reminder that vaccinations do not provide clubs will full immunity against COVID-19 issues.

Chicago announced Friday that forward Mike Hardman and goaltender Kevin Lankinen are currently not practicing because of the NHL's COVID-19 protocols. As the club added in its statement, this doesn't necessarily mean either individual has tested positive for the coronavirus. A player can be placed in the protocol because of an inconclusive test result, if he's awaiting confirmation of a positive test or if he's experiencing symptoms typical of COVID-19 infections. 

Hardman, 22, tallied one goal and two assists in eight games after he made his NHL debut for Chicago last season. Lankinen, meanwhile, went 17-14-5 with a 3.01 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage in 2020-21 and, as noted by the Associated Press (h/t ESPN), is in line to serve as a backup behind Marc-Andre Fleury.

Per Stephanie Stremplewski of NBC Chicago, Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman announced Thursday every Chicago player is considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 

"Certainly it shows the commitment of the players but also just from a more practical standpoint," Bowman said. "It's pretty challenging if you have players that aren't vaccinated as far as day-to-day activities."

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said last week 98% of players league-wide should be fully vaccinated by the start of regular-season play next month. 

Zac Wassink is a football and futbol aficionado who is a PFWA member and is probably yelling about Tottenham Hotspur at the moment. Erik Lamela and Eli Manning apologist. Chanted for Matt Harvey to start the ninth inning of Game 5 of the 2015 World Series at Citi Field. Whoops. You can find him on Twitter at @ZacWassink

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