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Mika Zibanejad held out of practice for COVID protocol

Crap.

New York Rangers v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images

Well, this is less than ideal.

The New York Rangers just announced that Mika Zibanejad is not practicing with the team today due to COVID-19 protocol. Yikes.

It’s only natural to be alarmist about this news, especially because it’s Zibanejad, but this is how this (largely flawed) system works. Players are held out and teams go on alert when a test gives them something to be concerned about. The Ottawa Senators recently had several games cancelled — including a game that was originally scheduled for tonight against the Rangers — when nearly a dozen players were on COVID-19 protocol. So, the Rangers are not the only team that has run into this.

Because Zibanejad is not named Tyler Bertuzzi, he is vaccinated.

To be blunt, these are the realities of playing team sports in a pandemic. Things like this are going to continue to happen. It sure would be nice if teams would be allowed to carry a few extra healthy bodies without being penalized, wouldn’t it? Well, that’s a story for another day.

For those who don’t remember, Zibanejad got off to a very slow start last season as a direct result of having COVID in the offseason. Seeing an athlete in his prime diminished after recovering from disease was a troubling reminder of just how serious our new reality was. Needless to say, we should keep our fingers crossed that all is well and that the already shorthanded Rangers are not about to have one or two lines of AHL players. All we can really do is wait and see what happens and hope that this is a false alarm and, above all else, that Mika is healthy and well.

The Rangers play the Buffalo Sabres tomorrow night. Someone is going to talk about Jack Eichel.