Dominique Ducharme felt helpless.
The Montreal Canadiens interim head coach — hours after testing constructive for COVID-19 — was sitting at house as his crew battled within the third spherical of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
And all he might do was watch.
“It is powerful to explain,” Ducharme, who is not experiencing any signs, stated throughout a digital media availability on Sunday morning.
“It is a bizarre scenario. I’ve by no means been by that.”
The Canadiens pulled out an exhilarating 3-2 time beyond regulation victory towards the Vegas Golden Knights in Friday’s Recreation 3 of their best-of-seven matchup with Ducharme isolating at house and assistant Luke Richardson taking the teaching reins.
Ducharme spoke with the crew nearly earlier than and after Friday’s contest and once more on Saturday in preparation for Sunday’s pivotal Recreation 4 on the Bell Centre (8 p.m. ET, CBC, CBCSports.ca).
“Only a fast phrase,” he stated.
As of Saturday night, no members of the Canadiens had been added to the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol checklist. The league stated in a press release on Friday that each one different exams on Montreal gamers and workers within the previous 48 hours got here again destructive.
First cross-border matchup in NHL season
The collection is the primary cross-border matchup within the NHL this season, made attainable by a federal exemption permitting groups to bypass Canada’s 14-day quarantine necessities.
Ducharme stated it was a giant shock to be taught he had contracted the coronavirus. The crew obtained its second vaccine dose on June 9, that means the constructive check got here six days wanting the two-week threshold to be deemed absolutely vaccinated.
“It is irritating,” he stated. “We have labored all 12 months to be right here. I have been ready for that second personally for certain for a very long time.
“I wish to be again as quickly as attainable.”
WATCH | Habs’ Ducharme in isolation following constructive COVID-19 check:
NHL and Quebec authorities COVID-19 protocols recommend Ducharme will not be eligible to return earlier than the top of the third spherical — and probably into the Stanley Cup remaining ought to Montreal advance. Nonetheless, Ducharme appeared to point that timeline might change.
“It is a completely different scenario that we’re in,” Ducharme stated. “Hopefully, I might be again earlier.”
The Canadiens arrived in Vegas final week for video games 1 and a couple of, however they have been restricted to their resort, meal room, fitness center and T-Cellular Enviornment. Ducharme stated gamers and workers weren’t even allowed to take a stroll exterior.
“It is irritating as a result of I have been doing all the things that they’ve requested us to do,” the 48-year-old stated, including that nobody in his household bubble has examined constructive.
“I by no means uncovered myself,” he stated. “I bought that dangerous luck.”
‘It is an unlucky scenario’
Canadiens winger Corey Perry stated regardless that there is no want for additional motivation with the crew two wins from its first remaining because the franchise’s final title in 1993, Montreal now has it with Ducharme trying on from his sofa.
“It is an unlucky scenario,” Perry stated. “We all know he desires to be right here as a lot as anyone. As soon as he comes out of this, hopefully we’re nonetheless going and he can come again and simply step proper again in.”
Ducharme was promoted to interim head coach in February when Claude Julien and affiliate coach Kirk Muller have been fired with the Canadiens in a tailspin.
He guided the membership by a troublesome, pandemic-truncated season that included a COVID-19 shutdown in March and a string of accidents to key gamers down the stretch.
Montreal completed fourth within the Canadian-based North Division however upset each the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets in spectacular trend to make the semifinals.
“Dom’s finished an incredible job steering the ship,” Canadiens defenceman Ben Chiarot stated. “He is keen about this crew. You possibly can solely think about how he feels sitting at house watching.”
Ducharme’s constructive check on Friday got here hours after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced journey restrictions on the Canada-U.S. border will stay in place by July 21 to forestall a fourth wave of COVID-19.
‘Sports activities groups should have protocols’
Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public well being officer, advised the Home of Commons well being committee earlier than Ducharme’s constructive check was confirmed that though the nation is lucky to have vaccines accessible, none are 100 per cent efficient, even with two doses.
“If a vaccine is 80 per cent efficient, you would possibly nonetheless get a fifth of the inhabitants, even after vaccination … prone to an infection,” she stated Friday. “However what we do know is generally these infections are going to be milder. So the prevention of significant outcomes can also be very key.
“Sports activities groups should have protocols,” Tam stated. “So presently, these sort of video games are carried out below the auspices of public well being departments which have security plans in place so that ought to somebody change into constructive, they do not unfold that virus to numerous different individuals.”
Regardless of his disappointment, Ducharme was happy with how Richardson dealt with the Canadiens’ bench in his absence to select up the previous defenceman’s first NHL teaching victory.
“He is an incredible teammate,” Ducharme stated. “You need a man like that in your aspect. He is a real particular person.
“He is the very best teammate you’ll be able to have.”
Ducharme would simply favor to be standing shoulder-to-shoulder on the bench.
“You are feeling helpless, simply watching and hoping for the very best,” he stated. “Particular scenario, nevertheless it’s been a particular 12 months.
“We have been by lots, and we’ll get by that.”