The Boston Bruins have placed defensemen Derek Forbort and Connor Clifton, as well as a team staff member in COVID protocol.
Forbort and Clifton join Boston Bruins forwards Tomas Nosek and Jake DeBrusk as the four Bruins players currently in COVID protocol. Forward Karson Kuhlman was recently cleared to play after going into protocol on Jan. 1. Kuhlman was slated to hop into the lineup Monday night against the Washington Capitals filling in for the injured Nick Foligno (lower-body), who is back in Boston and scheduled to have an MRI on Tuesday. Foligno left the second period of the Bruins’ 5-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night.
This is the second time Clifton has been in COVID protocol after spending time there last season. He also tested positive for COVID on his honeymoon last summer. This is Forbort’s first time in the protocol.
Last month, the Boston Bruins were forced to play shorthanded – without the likes of Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron – in a 3-1 loss to the New York Islanders on Dec. 16 and then had to have their season paused before the holiday break due to a COVID outbreak. They would have six games postponed between that game and their 4-3 overtime win over the Buffalo Sabres on New Year’s Day.
On Wednesday, the Boston Bruins will host another team that has been ravaged by COVID over the last month, their arch-rivals, the Montreal Canadiens. Entering this past weekend the Habs actually had a league-high 22 players in COVID protocol and as of Monday afternoon, they still had 17 players still in protocol. The game Wednesday is actually the rescheduled game from March 21 due to the Bruins-Habs game on December 18 in Montreal being postponed.
The Boston Bruins and the NHL are now hoping to play as many of those postponed games as possible over the two-week break in February that was originally slated for the Winter Olympics in Beijing. Following the massive league-wide COVID outbreak in mid to late December, the NHL invoked a clause in the current CBA that allows them to not allow the players to play at the Olympics due to material damage to the 2021-22 regular season schedule.