Sports: Canadiens HC Dominique Ducharme must isolate for 14 days after positive COVID test

Canadiens Notebook: Was Bob Gainey's speech the first of many?

  Canadiens Notebook: Was Bob Gainey's speech the first of many? Brendan Gallagher probably wasn’t supposed to mention that Bob Gainey had spoken with the Canadiens at their Brossard practice facility. But Gallagher let it out when he spoke with the media Wednesday on a video conference. “You talk about experience, there’s not a lot of organizations that can fall on alumni with the amount of experience that this one can, and we were fortunate to have one in the building today,” Gallagher said Wednesday in announcing that Gainey made a speech to the team.

Following up on the positive COVID-19 test of Montreal Canadiens interim head coach Dominique Ducharme, Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston was the first to report that Ducharme will indeed miss the next two weeks as a result. Although the NHL has relaxed many rules pertaining to its COVID protocol, a positive test still warrants a 14-day isolation period. Especially when the Canadiens were fortunate enough to not have any other positive tests among its players and staff, the league wants to maintain the health and safety of the team as well as the integrity of its semifinals.

Corey Perry wearing a suit and tie: Dominique Ducharme is out for the next two weeks after testing positive for COVID. © Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports Dominique Ducharme is out for the next two weeks after testing positive for COVID.

With that said, losing Ducharme is a blow for Montreal. The interim coach has led the team on an unexpectedly triumphant playoff run as the midseason replacement for Claude Julien. The Habs will now lean on an interim-interim head coach in assistant Luke Richardson, who coached the team to a Game 3 win. Assuming Ducharme’s 14-day isolation began on Friday when the positive test was discovered, the earliest he can return to the bench would be Friday, July 2. Montreal’s semifinal series with the Vegas Golden Knights, if it even goes seven games, will end on Saturday, June 26, nearly a week before Ducharme ends his isolation.

Canadiens Notebook: Habs now hold home-ice advantage in series

  Canadiens Notebook: Habs now hold home-ice advantage in series The Canadiens now hold home-ice advantage with their Stanley Cup semifinal series against the Golden Knights becoming a best-of-five after the teams split the first two games in Las Vegas. Games 3 and 4 will be Friday and Sunday night at the Bell Centre and so will Game 6 next Thursday, if necessary. The Canadiens will be able to have 3,500 fans at the Bell Centre for those games, which all have 8 p.m. starts, after the Quebec health ministry increased the maximum for indoor and outdoor venues from 2,500 this week while loosening some COVID-19 restrictions. Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme said the team went to Las Vegas with the objective of winning at least one game.

Richardson and the Canadiens will need to string together a couple more semifinal wins and potentially even a Stanley Cup Final win or two if Ducharme is to coach again this season.

Here are some more coaching notes from around the league...

  • Seattle Kraken GM Ron Francis keeps things notoriously close to the vest, and his ongoing coaching search is no different. Other than Rick Tocchet, who has interviewed for a number of vacancies so far making his bid for Seattle’s inaugural head coach role more public, there is not much known about who else may be a finalist for the job. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports that Francis brought a few candidates to Seattle this week for in-person interviews, but could confirm Tocchet as one — his third interview for the position. Friedman speculates that recently fired New York Rangers head coach David Quinn, Boston Bruins assistant Joe Sacco and University of Wisconsin Tony Granato could be the other names in the mix. Tocchet certainly seems like the favorite at this point, but don’t be shocked if Francis ends up making a surprise hire.
  • Friedman also notes that other NHL teams are interested in Toronto Maple Leafs assistant coaches and have requested permission to speak with them. Friedman does not name any coaches in particular, but of their group of assistants former head coaches, Dave Hakstol and Paul MacLean could certainly be drawing interest, as could up-and-comer Manny Malhotra. At this time, the Maple Leafs have not made any decisions on if they will allow their assistants to explore these opportunities, especially since they are likely to be lateral moves.

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Montreal Canadiens coach Dominique Ducharme tests positive for COVID-19

  Montreal Canadiens coach Dominique Ducharme tests positive for COVID-19 MONTREAL — Canadiens interim head coach Dominique Ducharme missed Game 3 of Montreal's third-round playoff series against the Vegas Golden Knights after testing positive for COVID-19. The NHL announced the positive test Friday afternoon, hours before puck drop at the Bell Centre. The league said in a statement it learned Friday that Ducharme had a presumptive positive result from a test done in Las Vegas on Thursday, one day after the Canadiens'The NHL announced the positive test Friday afternoon, hours before puck drop at the Bell Centre.

More must-reads:

  • Canadiens coach Dominique Ducharme tests positive for COVID-19
  • NHL players like homestand series schedule but not regional divisions
  • The 'Montreal Canadiens Hall of Famers' quiz

Related slideshow: COVID-19 and sports: Latest updates across all leagues (Provided by Yardbarker)

In the Habs' Room: Price and Montreal running out of chances .
Dreams of a 25th Stanley Cup victory for the Canadiens have turned into a nightmare. The Tampa Bay Lightning scored twice in first 3:27 of the first period and never looked back as they beat the Canadiens 6-3 Friday night at the Bell Centre. The win gave the Lightning a commanding 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven Stanley Cup final and the Canadiens face a must-win situation on Monday at the Bell Centre (8 p.m, CBC, SN, TVA Sports, TSN-690 Radio, 98.5 FM) . For the second time in three games, Carey Price gave up five goals.

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