The Montreal Canadiens are three wins away from competing in the Stanley Cup Final, but they won't have their head coach on the bench for Game 3 and might not have him for the remainder of the semifinal series versus the Vegas Golden Knights.
Hours after stories surfaced that coach Dominique Ducharme was isolating due to COVID-19 testing irregularities, TSN's Darren Dreger and other outlets reported Ducharme tested positive for the coronavirus and will miss at least Friday's Game 3 of the series tied 1-1. The league confirmed the reports and noted that the head coach must isolate away from the team in accordance with NHL protocols:
Earlier reports stated members of the Canadiens received second vaccine doses on June 9. Ducharme was among them, but he does not fall under the 14-day period it takes to be considered fully vaccinated.
Back in March, a similar situation unfolded with legendary UConn Huskies women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma, who tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after he received his second vaccine shot and had to complete an isolation period before he could return to team activities in March.
Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman passed on word from Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin, who said Ducharme is doing OK. Assistants Luke Richardson and Alex Burrows as well as director of goaltending Sean Burke will fill in for Ducharme.
Adds Ducharme is doing fine, thankfully. Luke Richardson, Alex Burrows and Sean Burke to run the bench.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) June 18, 2021
As things stand Friday afternoon, Game 7 between the Canadiens and Golden Knights is set for June 26.