The Pittsburgh Penguins say star centre Sidney Crosby has tested positive for COVID-19.
The team says Crosby has mild symptoms. Also sidelined after testing positive for COVID is defenceman Brian Dumoulin, who is reportedly asymptomatic.
Crosby, 34, has had a rough start to his 17th professional season, having played just one game after undergoing wrist surgery on Sept. 8. In his one game, Crosby was held without a point, had a minus-3 and had two shots on net in 19:16 of ice time against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday.
In 55 games last season, Crosby led the Penguins with 62 points, scoring 24 goals and assisting on 38 others. Crosby was held to one goal and one assist in Pittsburgh’s six-game loss to the New York Islanders in Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
“I’m sure he’s discouraged. He worked extremely hard to get to this point, and we were all so excited about getting him back in the fold,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan told the media. “This puts another road block in front of it. But we’ll control what we can, and we’re hopeful that Sid will return soon.”
Dumoulin, 30, has one assist in eight games this season.
Though the overwhelming majority of Penguins have been vaccinated, they’ve spent the early portion of the season wrangling with COVID-19. Crosby and Dumoulin are the seventh and eighth Penguins to go into the COVID-19 protocol since training camp opened in September.
Defencemen Marcus Pettersson and Chad Ruhwedel went into the protocol on Monday. Forwards Jeff Carter, Jack Guentzel and Zach Aston-Reese and defenceman Kris Letang also have tested positive.
Carter, Guentzel and Aston-Reese have returned to action. Letang, who was symptomatic, was back at practice on Monday.
The Penguins (3-3-2) wrap up an eight-game homestand by facing cross-state rival Philadelphia on Thursday and Minnesota on Sunday.
All players in the league, with the exception of Tyler Bertuzzi of the Detroit Red Wings, are reportedly fully vaccinated. However, recent outbreaks with San Jose Sharks (seven players plus a coach), as well as minor outbreaks with other teams (Winnipeg Jets, St. Louis Blues, Chicago Blackhawks) have brought COVID back into the headlines for the NHL.
With files from the Associated Press.