Flames down to just one player left in COVID-19 protocol

Darryl Sutter speaks about how his team is handling practices during the recent wave of COVID-19 conditions.

The Calgary Flames have just one player left in COVID-19 protocol after experiencing the biggest outbreak in the NHL this month.

When the team returned to practice after a two-week absence on Sunday, coach Darryl Sutter said goalie Dan Vladar is the only player remaining in protocol.

“A lot of these guys haven’t skated for a couple weeks plus with Covid, guys who tested positive, which most of them did, everybody’s going to react a little bit differently,” Sutter said. “It’s not like you’ve got to theme a practice, you’re just trying to get everybody through the first one.”

The Flames had 20 players in protocol at one point earlier this month.

Vladar was the most recent Flame to go on the list — on Dec. 21. Sutter said Vladar will be able to return on Monday.

Calgary has had seven games postponed from Dec. 13-27.

The Flames’ next scheduled game is Thursday in Seattle against the Kraken.

“It’s been quiet, being home at my house and in the basement of my house for 10 or 11 days. Skated a little bit yesterday and skated today,” goaltender Jacob Markstrom said.

“Obviously it hit pretty much everyone around the organization pretty hard. Everybody got sick, but I had probably two days where it was maybe fever and cough and cold-like symptoms and probably a week ago, it pretty much disappeared except for the cough.

“It was fun to see everyone, fun to be at the rink, put the gear on and practice and play hockey again. That’s what I’ve been missing the most.”

Sutter also tested positive. He said his symptoms were not bad.

“I had a cold, basically, get through it, and you know what? The isolation is the worst part,” Sutter said.

The Flames (15-7-6) are scheduled to play a New Year’s Eve home game against the Winnipeg Jets after the trip to Seattle.

“We’re working off the league starts tomorrow … and we’re playing on the 30th,” Sutter said. “We get three practice days, a travel day and a game, back-to-back. I’ve complained enough about the schedule. It’s not going to get any better.”

— With files from The Canadian Press.


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