Hurricanes have more COVID-positive players, game Tuesday in Minnesota postponed

Hurricanes defenseman Ian Cole, right, was one of four players to join Sebastian Aho, left, and Seth Jarvis in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol. (Karl B. DeBlaker / AP Photo)

The Hurricanes’ season is on hold.

The NHL postponed Carolina’s game Tuesday in Minnesota after four more players tested positive for COVID-19 following the team’s morning skate.

Jordan Staal, Andrei Svechnikov, Ian Cole and Steven Lorentz joined Sebastian Aho and Seth Jarvis as the team’s most recent players to contract the coronavirus. Aho and Jarvis are quarantined in a Vancouver hotel room along with a member of team staff who also tested positive. The four players who are the most recent positive cases were left in Minnesota while the team was readying itself to return to Raleigh.

The Hurricanes have now had nine players test positive since Ethan Bear was the first from the team to enter the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol on Nov. 22. Bear has played in four games, starting with the Dec. 4 home game against Buffalo, since completing his quarantine, and Brett Pesce and Tony DeAngelo — who were both added to the list a week after Bear — were set to make their return to the lineup Tuesday before the game was canceled.

“We did our part, and so I don’t know what else to do,” said Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour, referring to all his players being vaccinated, Tuesday before the latest positive tests were revealed and the game canceled. “I mean, guys are testing all the time, we’re masking, but, I mean, it is what it is, right?

“Everybody’s getting this thing, unfortunately. The good news is that they’re not getting sick, right? I think that’s the whole point of the vaccination, so you weren’t gonna get sick. I don’t think it prevented you from getting it. And so that’s the world we live in right now.”

While Staal, Svechnikov, Cole and Lorentz are required to quarantine for 10 days, the circumstances are different for the three people stuck in Vancouver. While the league’s quarantine requirements are 10 days, Canada has a stricter 14-day rules. Hurricanes media relations said Tuesday, prior to the most recent positive tests, that the team is exploring options such as an emergency medical flight that could get the trio back to Raleigh before Christmas.

With how things are going, the Hurricanes likely have more to concern themselves with before then. One source said it’s unlikely the team would host the Red Wings on Thursday and that Saturday’s home game against the Kings is also in jeopardy.

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reported early Tuesday evening that the NHL and the NHLPA were discussing the surge in positive tests around the league with doctors to plan a course of action.  Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Boston and the Islanders are among the teams that have had players enter the league’s protocol in the last couple days.