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Jonas Brodin out as COVID creeps its way into Wild locker room

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For the past couple of weeks, the Wild were among the few teams in the NHL to avoid COVID altogether. Not anymore.

As the Wild started practice Tuesday morning, the team announced via its Twitter account that star defenseman Jonas Brodin had been placed in COVID protocol.

He initially tested positive on Monday morning, according to coach Dean Evason, then tested negative twice before being sent home as a precaution to the rest of the team. The confirmatory test came back around 3 a.m. Tuesday ruling that Brodin had indeed tested positive.

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“It’s disappointing, no question,” Evason said. “He’s a huge part of our hockey club. It’s disappointing for him personally and disappointing for us as a group. But there’s nothing we can do about it. We go forward.”

In response to Brodin being placed in COVID protocol, the Wild recalled Calen Addison from the minors, meaning he’s in line to play in the Winter Classic against the St. Louis Blues on New Year’s Day at Target Field. Puck drop is 6 p.m. Saturday.

Though there’s a small chance Brodin could be cleared before the Winter Classic — he would need to be asymptomatic and test negative twice 24 hours apart — the Wild are operating as if he won’t be available to them for the NHL’s annual spectacle.

It would mark the second time in Brodin’s career that he could miss an outdoor game. He did not play in the 2016 Stadium Series game at TCF Bank Stadium — the Wild beat the rival Chicago Blackhawks 6-1 — after breaking his foot.

“We feel for him as an individual, for sure,” Evason said. “I was fortunate enough to be a part of (the Winter Classic) in Pittsburgh (as an assistant coach with the Washington Capitals), and it’s incredible. To not be able to be a part of that, yeah, I’m sure it’s extremely disappointing for him, and like I said, it’s extremely disappointing for us as a group.”

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While this isn’t the first time a Wild player has tested positive this season — Mats Zuccarello, Rem Pitlick and Freddy Gaudreau all have been in COVID protocol — Brodin is currently the only player who has tested positive during the recent uptick in COVID cases around the league.

Now that COVID has crept its way into the locker room, the Wild are likely not in the clear. If the rest of the NHL is any indication, some of Brodin’s teammates could test positive in the coming days.

The Wild will have a day off on Wednesday, then will return to TRIA Rink in downtown St. Paul on Thursday to continue their preparation for the Winter Classic.

“It’s the same,” Evason said. “We try to stay as safe as we can. We’ll continue to do that.”



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