After testing positive for COVID-19, Ducham felt “helpless” looking at Habs at home
Dominic Ducham felt helpless.
The Montreal Canadiens interim head coach-hours after testing positive for COVID-19-is sitting at home as his team fought in the third round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
And the only thing he can do is watch.
“It’s hard to describe,” Ducham, who has no symptoms, said in a virtual media Sunday morning.
“This is a strange situation. I have never experienced that kind of situation.”
The Canadians defeated the Las Vegas Golden Cavaliers 3-2 in overtime in the third game of the seven two-win game on Friday. Ducham was isolated at home and assistant coach Luke Richardson served as the coach’s reins.
Ducharme spoke with the team almost before and after Friday’s game and on Saturday to prepare for the pivotal fourth game on Sunday at Bell Center (8pm Eastern Time, CBC, CBCSports.ca).
“It’s just a simple sentence,” he said.
As of Saturday night, no Canadians have been added to the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list. The league said in a statement on Friday that all other tests on Montreal players and staff have been negative in the past 48 hours.
The first crossover matchup of the NHL season
The series is the first crossover game of the NHL this season, and a federal exemption allows teams to bypass Canada’s 14-day quarantine requirements.
Ducham said that he was surprised to learn that he was infected with the coronavirus. The team received a second dose of vaccine on June 9, which means that a positive test is six days behind the two-week threshold considered to be fully vaccinated.
“It’s frustrating,” he said. “We have been working here all year. I personally have been waiting for that moment for a long time.
“I want to come back as soon as possible.”
Watch | Ducharme of Habs is quarantined after testing positive for COVID-19:
The COVID-19 agreement between the NHL and the Quebec government indicates that Ducham will not be eligible to return before the end of the third round-if Montreal advances, it may enter the Stanley Cup final. However, Ducham seems to indicate that the timetable may change.
“We are in a different situation,” Ducham said. “Hope I can come back soon.”
The Canadians arrived in Las Vegas last week for the first and second games, but they were restricted to hotels, restaurants, gyms and T-Mobile Arena. Ducharme said that players and staff were not even allowed to walk outside.
“It’s frustrating because I have been doing everything they ask us to do,” the 48-year-old said, adding that no one in his family has tested positive.
“I never expose myself,” he said. “I’m unlucky.”
‘This is an unfortunate situation’
Canadians winger Corey Perry said that although the team won two games in the first finals since the last championship in 1993, no extra motivation is needed, but Montreal now has it, and Ducham sits on the couch. Watched on.
“This is an unfortunate situation,” Perry said. “We know that he wants to come here like anyone else. Once he gets out of the predicament, I hope we can move on, he can come back and intervene again.”
Ducharme was promoted to interim head coach in February when Claude Julien and deputy coach Kirk Muller were fired by the Canadians.
He led the club through a difficult and truncated pandemic season, which included a COVID-19 lockout in March and a series of injuries to key players.
Montreal finished fourth in the Canadian Northern Division, but defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets in an impressive manner to enter the semifinals.
“Dom did a great job driving this ship,” said Ben Chiarot, a Canadian defender. “He is passionate about this team. You can only imagine him sitting at home watching the game.”
Hours after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that travel restrictions on the Canada-US border will continue until July 21 to prevent the fourth wave of COVID-19 outbreak, Ducham tested positive on Friday.
“Sports teams must have an agreement”
Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, told the House of Commons Health Committee before Ducharme’s positive test results were confirmed that although the country is lucky to have vaccines available, none of the vaccines is 100% effective, even with two doses of the vaccine.
“If the vaccine is 80% effective, even after vaccination, you can still infect one-fifth of the population… susceptible to infection,” she said on Friday. “But what we do know is that in general, these infections will be milder. Therefore, preventing serious consequences is also critical.
“The sports team must have an agreement,” Tan said. “So, currently, such games are played under the auspices of a public health department that has a safety plan so that if someone becomes positive, they will not spread the virus to many other people.”
Although disappointed, Ducharm was satisfied with Richardson’s handling of the Canadians’ bench in his absence in order to obtain the defender’s first NHL coaching victory.
“He is a great teammate,” Ducham said. “You want someone like this to be by your side. He is a real person.
“He is the best teammate you can have.”
Ducharme just prefers to stand side by side on the bench.
“You feel helpless, just watching and hoping for the best,” he said. “Special circumstances, but this is a special year.
“We have gone through a lot, and we will survive.”