Montreal Canadiens interim coach Dominique Ducharme will miss Friday’s Game 3 in Montreal after twice testing positive for COVID-19. Assistant coach Luke Richardson will run the Canadiens’ bench on Friday. Assistant coaches Alex Burrows and Sean Burke will be on the bench as well.
The NHL said that no other players or staff members on the Canadiens tested positive either Thursday or Friday. The semifinal series against the Vegas Golden Knights is tied, 1-1, as the series shifts to Canada.
General manager Marc Bergevin said the coach is resting at home and doing fine. The NHL confirmed that Ducharme received his second COVID-19 vaccination “less than two weeks ago.”
Since it is an unprecedented situation for the NHL during the playoffs, Bergevin said the team has been in contact with Quebec Health department, as well as the NHL, to determine how long Ducharme will be absent.
“The Canadiens organization has, and will continue to follow, all guidelines aimed at protecting the health and safety of its Players, staff and community at large as set by the NHL, the Canadian Federal Government, the Quebec Provincial Government, and national and provincial health agencies,” the NHL said in a statement.
Bergevin said he spoke to Ducharme several times on Friday, and that the coach has also been in touch with his staff.
“I guarantee we’ll be ready tonight for the game,” Bergevin said in a short news conference before Friday’s game.
Ducharme tested positive on Friday morning, forcing the Canadiens to cancel his pregame news conference. He underwent further testing and after a second positive result, he was ruled out for the game.
During the season, a person with a confirmed positive COVID-19 result had to remain out for at least 10 days. A potential Game 7 of the Vegas series is scheduled for June 26, which is in nine days.