Buffalo Sabres coach Ralph Krueger has tested positive for COVID-19 and will enter the NHL’s COVID protocol, the team announced Thursday morning.
Krueger, 61, is the first staff member the Sabres have announced as testing positive.
Later Thursday, defenseman Jake McCabe became the fifth Sabres player added to the league’s COVID-19 protocol-related absences list in the last three days, joining winger Taylor Hall, defenseman Brandon Montour, winger Tobias Rieder and defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen.
The NHL doesn’t reveal if the players on the absences list have tested positive.
The Sabres have reasons to be concerned. One of Krueger’s assistant coaches, Don Granato, 53, was hospitalized early last season with severe pneumonia and missed nearly two months.
It’s hard to believe the Sabres, who are scheduled to host the Washington Capitals at KeyBank Center on Thursday, will be able to play in less than a week.
In their last games Saturday and Sunday, the Sabres faced the New Jersey Devils, who have a stunning 16 players on the league’s COVID list.
On Tuesday, when Hall and Ristolainen were added to the list, the NHL postponed all of Buffalo’s games through Monday.
The Sabres had road games scheduled for Thursday against the New York Islanders and Saturday and Monday versus the Boston Bruins.
Buffalo’s training facilities are closed until further notice.