Entire Rangers coaching staff missing Flyers game due to COVID-19 issue

The entire Rangers coaching staff is in COVID-19 protocol and was unavailable for Wednesday’s matchup against the Flyers. Roughly 2 ½ hours before the puck-drop, the Rangers said Hartford Wolf

The entire Rangers coaching staff is in COVID-19 protocol and was unavailable for Wednesday’s matchup against the Flyers.

Roughly 2 ½ hours before the puck-drop, the Rangers said Hartford Wolf Pack head coach Kris Knoblauch, associate head coach Gord Murphy and associate general manager Chris Drury would be behind the bench, because Rangers head coach David Quinn and assistant coaches Jacques Martin, David Oliver, and Greg Brown all were unavailable.

While being in COVID-19 protocol doesn’t necessarily mean they tested positive for the virus, Rangers forward Phil Di Giuseppe has been on the coronavirus protocol list since Sunday, which could mean he did in fact test positive.

Being placed in COVID-19 protocol could mean a player or coach was deemed to have had high-risk close contact with someone who did test positive, or for any other precautionary reasons.

The Rangers canceled their morning skate ahead of Monday’s 5-4 overtime loss to the Flyers, presumably due to Adam Fox and Pavel Buchnevich later joining Di Giuseppe on the COVID-19 protocol list — leading to all three getting sidelined.

The entire Rangers coaching staff, including head coach David Quinn, will miss tonight’s game against the Flyers due to COVID-19 protocol.
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The team, however, did practice Tuesday.

As of Wednesday, Di Giuseppe was still in protocol. Fox and Buchnevich were taken off and subsequently inserted back into the lineup for the rematch against the Flyers at Madison Square Garden. Considering Fox and Buchnevich were reinstated so quickly, it could indicate they both registered false-positive tests.

Defenseman Tarmo Reunanen and forward Julien Gauthier were scratched to accommodate Fox and Buchnevich.

Buchnevich’s return to the lineup, reunited him with Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad on the “KZB” line. Artemi Panarin, Ryan Strome and Colin Blackwell made up the second line, while the “kid line” of Alexis Lafreniere, Filip Chytil and Kaapo Kakko got another shot together. Brendan Lemieux, Kevin Rooney and Brett Howden rounded out the lines.

Quinn and his assistants are far from the first NHL coaching staff to go into COVID-19 protocol this season. At the end of January, the entire Golden Knights coaching staff had to go into isolation after one member tested positive.

At the beginning of February, Ralph Krueger, then the Sabress head coach, tested positive and had to enter COVID-19 protocol. And during the Stars’ coronavirus outbreak in January, two staff members tested positive.

Knoblauch found himself back behind an NHL bench for the first time since he served as the assistant coach of the Flyers in 2017-18 and 2018-19. In July 2019, Knoblauch was named the seventh head coach of the Wolf Pack and has since posted a 31-20-11 record in the AHL.

He comes into Wednesday’s game with a combined seven seasons of head-coaching experience in the Ontario Hockey League and Western Hockey League, with two junior-league championships under his belt. The Islanders’ seventh-round pick in the 1997 NHL Draft, Knoblauch led the WHL’s Kootenay Ice to a championship in his first season as head coach in 2010-11 before winning a title with the OHL’s Erie Otters in his last year coaching juniors in 2016-17.

The Rangers also had Drury at their disposal Wednesday. The former Rangers center of four seasons was promoted to associate GM last month after interviewing for the Penguins’ vacant position.

This story originally appeared on: NyPost - Author:Mollie Walker

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