Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper, 54, is under NHL COVID protocol hours before the team is set to face the Vegas Golden Knights in the last game before the Christmas Break. The Lightning are now one of 26 teams in the 32-team league that has members in the NHL’s protocol.
according to the team, Jon Cooper has entered the COVID protocol so Derek Lalonde will run the forward lines tonight— Gabby Shirley (@Gabby_Shirley_) December 22, 2021
No other @TBLightning players or staff are in COVID related protocol today. Just coach Jon Cooper. https://t.co/Fr9iRa4OOR— Joe Smith (@JoeSmithTB) December 22, 2021
Assistant coach Derek Lalonde will run the forwards, with fellow assistants Jeff Halpern and Rob Zettler and goalie coach Frantz Jean on the bench.
The Golden Knights are not without COVID either, with two players (Evgenii Dadonov and Alex Pietrangelo) having tested positive earlier today.
Update: Evgenii Dadonov and Alex Pietrangelo are unavailable for tonight’s game due to COVID-19 protocol. #VegasBorn— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) December 21, 2021
Tampa Bay vs Vegas is the only game on the NHL’s schedule — and the last on the schedule before the break — with the nine others all postponed.
We don’t know how long exactly Cooper will have to isolate for — players need to test negative twice before they’re allowed back — so we’ll keep an eye on when he’ll be able to return to the bench.