Last Thursday, the Edmonton Oilers saw their game against the Montreal Canadiens postponed by an hour. They also had to take the ice without winger Jesse Puljujarvi and goalie Mikko Koskinen. Puljujarvi was added to the NHL’s COVID-19 Protocol List, and the fear was that the big Finn had tested positive and would be on the shelf for at least ten days.
Luckily, Puljujarvi tested negative later on Thursday, and was taken off the list on Saturday. He’s likely to return to the lineup tonight when the Oilers host the Winnipeg Jets.
On Sunday, coach Dave Tippett opened up about the scare.
“Basically, the trainers say to me that he’s not available. Then they say he has to have some more testing done,” Tippett said when asked about the ordeal. “Once those tests are cleared up, (they say) we’ll let you know when he’s available. That’s basically what comes for the coaches. He’s out and you just have to look in another direction. So, you let them go about their business and do their stuff. Then, when he gets back, they tell you he’s back and away you go. That’s about what the coaches find out.”
Luckily for Tippett, the Oilers and Puljujarvi, the wait for his return wasn’t long. Puljujarvi will miss just one game, and the Oilers currently have no one on the COVID-19 list.
Although it was a scare, it’s all good in the end. Puljujarvi was back on the ice with his teammates on Sunday preparing for the Jets.
“It’s good to see,” Tippett said regarding Puljujarvi’s presence. “You don’t expect something like that but we’ve talked about it. So, you deal with it. In Jesse’s case, you hate to see a young guy like that feel bad about how things turned out but everybody knows that’s the world we live in right now. He’s back, he’s smiling today, he’s working hard and it’s good to have him back.”
It’ll be even better to see him back on the wing with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Connor McDavid at Rogers Place tonight.