Justin Faulk was eliminated minutes before the St. Louis Blues’ 4-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night, and the team confirmed the defenseman had accepted the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol.
Faulk’s absence came hours after goaltender Jordan Binnington entered protocol and put the Blues in a difficult position due to salary cap constraints. Chief Executive Doug Armstrong said Binnington had tested positive for the coronavirus.
âYou don’t like to hear this news,â coach Craig Berube said on a video call. “We keep going, boys. That’s all we can do. â¦ It’s just another roadblock, we just have to go through it. “
It was not immediately clear whether Binnington or Faulk were showing symptoms.
Binnington and Faulk join forward Tyler Bozak as Blues players in the league virus protocol. They are also without injured forwards David Perron, James Neal and Klim Kostin.
St. Louis plans to recall goaltender Charlie Lindgren on Friday, but couldn’t do so in time for the game against Tampa Bay. League rules state that because the Blues don’t have the headroom to add another player to the roster, they had to end a game with an emergency save.
Ville Husso (31 saves) started against the Lightning, with 23-year-old mask painter Kyle Konin serving as a replacement. Konin recently played club hockey at Grand Valley State University.
Binnington, who helped the Blues win their first Stanley Cup title of 2019, is 8-5-3 with a 2.80 goals-against average and .912 save percentage in 16 starts. this season. The 28-year-old is also a top contender to be one of Canada’s goaltenders at the upcoming Beijing Olympics, assuming the NHL does not pull out.
Husso is expected to take the lion’s share of the net while Binnington is out. Entering Thursday, the 26-year-old Finn was 3-1-0 with a 1.76 GAA and .936 save percentage in limited action this season.
Berube saw a change in Husso’s approach last season and believes he is ready for the opportunity.
âI believe he’s in a better place,â Berube said. “It’s obviously new for him to handle the load. But I’m stepping away from his game this year so far and he’s played extremely well.”
Faulk, 29, has 10 points in 22 games this season.