UPDATE: After Wednesday night’s 4-3 victory in St. Louis, Colorado Avalanche Head Coach Jared Bednar told the media that his starting goalie will be away from the team for “at least 14 days.”
This is tough news for a team that is fighting for the Presidents Trophy and trying to round into form for a deep playoff run. While Grubauer is out, the Avalanche will rely on newcomers Jonas Johansson and Devan Dubnyk.
Just as more of the NHL’s teams have started to line up for their covid-19 vaccinations, Colorado has announced that they’ll be down a very crucial member of their lineup due to a positive diagnosis.
No morning skate today. pic.twitter.com/lqJHbSAiMj— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) April 14, 2021
The NHL has officially added starting goaltender Philipp Grubauer to the covid-19 list, leaving recently-acquired backups Jonas Johansson and Devan Dubnyk (who will make his first start in the burgundy and blue) to hold down the fort until he’s re-activated. He joins defender Bowen Byram, who has been off the ice for a week already, on the team’s covid list.
The positive test for Grubauer comes the day after the team announced that all players and staff had been vaccinated against covid-19, in a cruel twist of fate that leaves the club without arguably their most valuable piece this year.
The league created a lengthy and intricate process for handling positive covid tests at the start of the year, which indicates that it’s likely Grubauer will be absent from the lineup for at least 10 days while he isolates from the rest of the team and waits to test negative. The hope, though, is that it’s simply an asymptomatic test — and that it didn’t affect others on the team before they were able to get vaccinated, which doesn’t necessarily provide complete immunity to the recipient of the vaccine. If more positive tests sweep through the team, it could affect their schedule once again as the season starts to wind down. And that could be tough — since the Colorado Avalanche are considered by many to be the league favorites to win the Stanley Cup in a few months time.
Those odds, of course, rely heavily on the consistency that’s been display from Grubauer this year, as well. So it’s going to be all eyes on Dubnyk, who is making his Colorado debut this evening, and on Johansson — who has been performing admirably since arriving from the maligned Buffalo, but still has a very small sample size to offer when it comes to helping fans and pundits feel confident in what he has to offer.
The Avalanche will face the St. Louis Blues, who desperately need to win in order to further cement their hold over the fourth playoff spot in the division, at 5:30 PM MST.