NHL News: Senators remove eight players from COVID-19 protocol; Rangers Mika Zibanejad added

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ottawa senators covid
Feb 15, 2021; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators head coach D.J. Smith talks to his team during the third period against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Finally some good news for the Ottawa Senators, who were hammered by COVID-19 resulting in three games being postponed.

The Sens are returning to practice on Saturday for the first time in a week after 10 players were placed in COVID-19 protocol.

Sens remove 8 players off COVID list

Eight of the 10 players returned to the team on Saturday, including forwards Austin Watson, Alex Formenton, Dylan Gambrell and Connor Brown, defensemen Nick Holden, Victor Mete and Josh Brown, and goaltender Matt Murray. Forward Drake Batherson and defenseman Nikita Zaitsev still remain in protocol.

The Senators’ facilities were closed on Monday, the same day the league suspended the team’s games at the New Jersey Devils (Tuesday), versus the Nashville Predators (Thursday) and against the New York Rangers (Saturday).

The NHL announced Friday that the game versus the Devils will now take place on Dec. 6 in Newark, N.J. Make-up dates for the home games against the Predators and Rangers have not yet been announced.

The Senators (4-10-1) are scheduled to return to action on Monday in the opener of a four-game road trip against the Colorado Avalanche in Denver.

Rangers Mika Zibanejad on COVID protocol

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Apr 20, 2021; Uniondale, New York, USA; New York Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov (40) makes a save on a shot by New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (93) during the second period at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

New York Rangers forward Mika Zibanejad was placed in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol on Saturday.

Zibanejad, who missed most of training camp last season after testing positive for COVID-19, was held out of practice on Saturday morning.

Greg McKegg took his place in practice on a line with Chris Kreider and Barclay Goodrow. The Rangers were practicing Saturday because their scheduled game for that day against Ottawa was postponed following a COVID-19 outbreak on the Senators.

Zibanejad has recorded 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) in 17 games this season.

The 28-year-old Swede led the team in goals (24) and game-winning goals (seven) last season. He also had 26 assists to finish with 50 points.

Zibanejad has 448 points (204 goals, 244 assists) in 621 career games with the Senators and Rangers. He was selected by Ottawa with the sixth overall pick of the 2011 NHL Draft.

The Rangers acquired Zibanejad and a second-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft from the Ottawa Senators on July 18, 2016. The Senators received fellow forward Derick Brassard and a seventh-round pick in the 2018 draft in the trade.

–Field Level Media