MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme has been mandated to quarantine for an indeterminant amount of time after testing positive for COVID-19.
Ducharme, who received his second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on June 9, is at home and feeling well, according to Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin.
Though COVID-19 vaccines offer a high degree of protection against the virus, infection is still possible after being inoculated. Cases in which this happens have been shown to present with significantly milder symptoms.
“He’s doing fine,” Bergevin told reporters. “He’s at home. As far as how long he’s going to be out, we’re dealing with and talking to Health Quebec and also NHL protocols. It’s an ongoing situation, so I can’t tell you how long.”
The NHL has confirmed the game will go on as scheduled, with all other staff members and players for both the Canadiens and Vegas Golden Knights confirmed to have produced negative COVID results in Friday’s daily testing.
“As far as contact tracing, we gave all our information,” Bergevin said. “But you look recently, there were cases — like in Toronto, where I think William Nylander flew with the team, skated in the morning and then they put him aside for a period and the game went on. I think the same thing happened in Calgary with Josh Leivo, though I’m not certain… Again, there was a game to play with the Flames and they put the player aside.
“So, the NHL has all the information and is comfortable. Again, this isn’t an isolated incident; it’s happened already with two other teams in the North Division.”
In Ducharme’s absence, Luke Richardson will assume interim duties as head coach for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup semifinal against the Golden Knights. The game is scheduled for Friday at 8 p.m. ET., at the Bell Centre.
Richardson is the only member of the Canadiens’ coaching staff to have served as a head coach at the professional level. He was at the helm of the AHL’s Binghamton Senators from 2012-2016. Assistant coach Alexandre Burrows and director of goaltending Sean Burke will serve with him behind the Canadiens’ bench.
“As of this morning, [Ducharme] was in contact with our coaches,” Bergevin said. “He prepared the gameplan. And I would say he won’t be in contact between periods, but he’ll definitely be in touch after the game and he’ll prepare the plans for Game 4. He’s at home, but he’s implicated with everything that’s going to happen and the gameplan for now.”