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Ryan Carpenter and Erik Gustafsson returned to Chicago Blackhawks activities from the league’s COVID-19 protocol Sunday, but there remained one very noticeable absence.

Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane waves to the crowd after being awarded a Silver Stick before a game against the Canucks at the United Center on Oct. 21, 2021. © Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane waves to the crowd after being awarded a Silver Stick before a game against the Canucks at the United Center on Oct. 21, 2021.

Patrick Kane’s status is up in the air with the Hawks facing the Detroit Red Wings Sunday night.

“I think with all these COVID guys, it’s so much going on, we’re just going to take it one day at a time,” coach Jeremy Colliton said.

The Hawks are trying to avoid extending their winless streak to six games to start the season, and it would be much more difficult without their points leader from last season available.

“It’s a big loss, you know?,” Dominik Kubalik said of Kane after morning skate. “He’s a huge part of our team, huge part of the power play. But we have to stick together, we have a lot of good guys who can produce, too.”

Defenseman Connor Murphy agreed.

“He creates so much offensively,” Murphy said. “But we know we have a lot of players, lot of depth. We’re confident in our team we have tonight.”

The Hawks have had these players and staff in the protocol:

  • Carpenter, Kane and Gustafsson (added Saturday, with Carpenter and Gustafsson removed Sunday)
  • Assistant Coach Tomas Mitell (added Thursday)
  • Kevin Lankinen (added Sept. 24, removed Sept. 27)

The Hawks announced at the outset of training camp that the team — including players, coaches and staff — is 100% vaccinated.

Kubalik said the players are doing their best to follow league protocols: “Just try to be smart, wearing masks, don’t go anywhere if we don’t have to.”

Murphy added, “It’s on your mind knowing it’s always a possibility.

“Even vaccinated, there’s still a chance to get COVID,” he said. “It’s unfortunate, but we trust there’s great protocols put in place and our trainers control what they can and make sure proper precautions are taken.

“When you trust that, it doesn’t linger in your mind too much because you know how you can only control how you’re performing. ... Unfortunate (that it) still happens, that guys can still contract it and get sick. We just hope everyone is well with it, can heal quickly and get back.”

This season, fully vaccinated players have looser restrictions than last season, such as being able to go out to eat together. They still have requirements such as wearing masks, reporting close contact with COVID risks and performing daily symptom checks.

“I think it’s better (this year), we’re just in a situation where a bunch of stuff is happening at once,” Colliton said. “We’re the team that’s dealing with right now, not that’s not to say another team won’t have to deal with it later on.

The league and the players union are scheduled to meet on Nov. 1 to assess where transmission rates are and determine whether to increase or decrease the frequency of testing for vaccinated players and staff. They’re set to meet again Nov. 15 to discuss whether additional testing and quarantine measures are needed to prepare for the Beijing Olympics in February.

Colliton said, “If they end up changing the protocols, we’ll adjust, but for now these are the rules, we’ve got to find a way to perform.”

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    Source : https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nhl/chicago-blackhawks-get-2-players-back-from-covid-19-protocol-e2-80-94-but-not-patrick-kane-e2-80-98we-e2-80-99re-the-team-that-e2-80-99s-dealing-with-right-now-e2-80-99/ar-AAPTN0C

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