Scott Wedgewood had actually been anxiously waiting on his possibility to enter a NHL game after almost three years since his last appearance in the league. That opportunity came in an extremely unanticipated method on Thursday.

The training staff informed Wedgewood he was starting against the New york city Islanders on Thursday night after the Mackenzie Blackwood was put on the NHL’s COVID-19 reserve list previously that early morning.

” The function I’ve been under here is simply prepare to play every night. You never know what’s going to occur with a circumstance like we went through tonight with COVID,” Wedgewood stated. “As a backup function, you never understand what’s going to come your method. I still prepared the very same method last night, no matter the situation.”

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Blackwood was eliminated for Thursday’s 4-1 loss to the Islanders, and beyond that, the group said there’s no timetable for just how much time he could miss.

Head coach Lindy Ruff said after Blackwood was put on the COVID-19 list, the team went through contact tracing to identify any close contacts. A couple were determined, including goalie coach Dave Rogalski. Ruff stated tests for those close contacts all returned unfavorable.

The Devils have actually tried to take additional precautions within their centers to limit direct exposure and threat throughout the pandemic. In a normal dressing space, players in the very same position group normally have stalls near each other. Ruff and the coaching staff have actually spread forwards, defensemen and goalies around in the hopes a break out would not affect an entire position group.

” We’re trying to do our best to make certain that we keep our masks on,” Ruff stated. “And we’re persistent about remaining away from little areas with a great deal of individuals.”

The Devils have two days before their next game– a rematch versus the Islanders on Sunday at Prudential Center in Newark.

If Blackwood stays on the COVID-19 list, Wedgewood and Eric Comrie would remain in line to manage the goaltending responsibilities for the time being. Aaron Dell still requires to quarantine for 7 days after the Devils declared him off waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday.

When Wedgewood signed with the Devils during the offseason, he remained in line to be the organization’s third goalie behind Blackwood and Corey Crawford. With the season being played throughout a pandemic, NHL teams required a trustworthy third goalie as insurance coverage for scenarios like Blackwood’s on Thursday.

Wedgewood’s role changed with Crawford’s abrupt retirement before the season, making him the backup goalie to begin the year. However Thursday was still an example of a few of the unknowns players are dealing with during a distinct season.

” It’s definitely something that none people are utilized to,” Wedgewood stated. “Even the bubble at the end of last season was different. I have a bit of sensation toward it– there was no favorable cases there, which was good– but firstly is everyone’s security. I believe the NHL’s done a terrific job with that. (Blackwood’s) a huge part of the group, and everybody’s simply kind of ensuring they’re OK.

” Contact tracing and all kind of the protocols we have to go through is undoubtedly something that can be scary, and you wish to be on the ice as much as possible and help the team as much as you can. To go through whatever and be prepared, it’s a little nerve damaging, however at the same time, once you get everything settled and everybody’s health is the top priority, the video game’s the exact same.”

While Blackwood was the only Devil contributed to the COVID-19 list on Thursday, the NHL has actually currently seen one example this season of how things can escalate. The Carolina Hurricanes placed Jordan Staal on the COVID-19 list last Friday, then 4 more gamers were included on Tuesday, triggering the post ponement of their video games on Thursday and Saturday.

The coming days will be crucial to see if any other Devils need to be contributed to the COVID-19 list, however Ruff is confident the group used the best precautions to prevent that.

” Anytime you’re going through this … I believe we have actually done our homework on it,” Ruff said. “We have actually tried to be truly diligent about having masks on all the time. And we’re hoping that we’re gon na get away with one (gamer).”.

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