Canadiens coach Dominique Ducharme hoping for quick return from COVID-19

Assistant coach Luke Richardson led the Montreal Canadiens again in Game 4 of their Stanley Cup semifinal series against the Vegas Golden Knights as interim coach Dominique Ducharme remains isolated with COVID-19.

Ducharme, whose positive test was confirmed Friday, said Sunday that he is hopeful he won’t need to remain isolated for 14 days before he can be cleared to return, under NHL protocol rules. He received both doses of his COVID-19 vaccine — the second coming on June 9 — which would qualify him as fully vaccinated on Wednesday. In a video chat with reporters, he said he doesn’t have any symptoms.

“Being vaccinated twice, the chances are really slim,” Ducharme told reporters in his first comments since the positive test was revealed Friday. “I really wasn’t lucky on this one. … It’s frustrating because I’ve been doing everything they asked us to do. I never exposed myself.”

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Canadiens coach hopes to be back quickly

“I wish I could be at the rink right now. I don’t feel different than a week ago,” Ducharme said.

Game 5 is scheduled for Tuesday in Las Vegas and then the series will return to Montreal for Game 6 on Thursday. If necessary back to Las Vegas for Game 7 on Saturday.

Dominique Ducharme COVID
Jun 7, 2021; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme gestures to the fans after the series win over the Winnipeg Jets during the overtime period in game four of the second round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Ducharme, 48, said the team is working with the NHL and the Canadian government to determine how long his quarantine must last, but he’s confident he’ll coach his team in person again this postseason.

“I believe I’ll be back,” he said. “I’m hoping to be as soon as possible. Our players want to continue their run. No matter when I do return, I’m confident we’ll still be playing.”

Richardson is being assisted by coaches Sean Burke and Alexandre Burrows, with Ducharme advising the coaches and players via videoconference.

–Field Level Media