San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns was not at practice this morning after being placed onto the NHL’s COVID-19 Protocol retroactively to Dec. 17. This news comes amid several game postponements across the league, promoting discussion of a potential league-wide temporary shutdown that would extend the holiday break.
It was reported that Burns was on the ice for the duration of last Friday’s practice and that he received a positive test result after the skate. The team did conduct a round of tests the following day. No new positive tests were reported. The Sharks had the weekend off and skated again today, which might explain the delay between Burns’ positive test and the announcement.
With Burns absent, Nicolas Meloche practiced alongside Mario Ferarro on the top pairing.
Nicolas Meloche has taken Brent Burns' place alongside Mario Ferraro for today's practice. Other d-pairs -- Middleton-Karlsson and Vlasic-Simek -- remain the same.— Curtis Pashelka (@CurtisPashelka) December 20, 2021
The Sharks’ blue liner is the franchise leader in consecutive games played in teal. He was acquired in 2011 and has played in 627 contests dating back to Nov. 13, 2013. He is also the team’s current time on ice leader (TOI) at 25:53 minutes per game.
His absence from practice today is itself a rare occurrence, as Burns has been known to be one of the first and last players to leave the ice. The good news is that the Sharks’ blue liner is said to be asymptomatic.
“He rode his bike down here from home today to get tested. He’s still doing his thing,” head coach Bob Boughner told media on Monday. “He’s obviously frustrated because he wants to be able to do everything and work out.”
Burns, who is the only member of the Sharks currently in Protocol, may be able to participate in the team’s next game. That contest is scheduled to be played against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center on Dec. 27. Burns will have completed the 10-day quarantine after a positive test, as required by the league. Though this is a boon for the Sharks, the severity of the ongoing COVID situation outside of the organization may spell more postponed games to come.