Nathan MacKinnon will miss at least the Colorado Avalanche's regular-season opener after testing positive for COVID-19 two days beforehand, general manager Joe Sakic said.
"He tested positive from yesterday’s test," Sakic said Tuesday. "He’s asymptomatic, feeling good.
"He won’t be playing tomorrow night but hopefully he’ll be able to test out and get ready – we're hoping for Saturday, but we’ll see."
The Avalanche open the 2021-22 campaign Wednesday night against the Chicago Blackhawks. The Avalanche won't have their head coach behind the bench either, Sakic said. On Thursday, the team announced Jared Bednar would miss the last two games of the preseason following a positive COVID-19 test. Assistant coaches Ray Bennett and Nolan Pratt have divvied up some additional responsibilities since then.
"He’ll be back Saturday," Sakic said.
MacKinnon missed Tuesday morning’s practice at Ball Arena. Nazem Kadri practiced with MacKinnon’s linemates, Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen.
MacKinnon is a top-line forward and was the team's second-leading scorer last season (20 goals, 45 assists through 48 games).
"I think we’ve all done our due diligence in getting vaccinated and making sure we’re as protected as we can be but at the same time, you have to take those extra precautions," defenseman Cale Makar said.
"Obviously this is a fluke and a little bit of a wakeup call but at the same time, we have guys who can fill those roles. Nate’s a tough guy to fill, but at the same time we’ll be ready and prepared to do it."
Though it's off to a rocky start, the hope is the upcoming season won't be as affected by the pandemic as the last, when the Avalanche saw several postponements.
"Everybody's vaccinated. We've got 100% vaccination," Sakic said. "So hopefully that should help."