Montreal Canadiens winger Joel Armia will not travel with the team to Florida as it prepares for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning after entering the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol, general manager Marc Bergevin announced Sunday.
It’s unclear how long Armia will be in the protocol or whether he tested positive. He has not yet been ruled out for Game 1 of the series, which begins Monday night at 8.
This is Armia’s second time in the COVID-19 protocol. He was out of the Montreal lineup from March 22 to April 10 after testing positive for a variant of the coronavirus. The Canadiens had four games postponed due to COVID-19 around the same time.
“It’s not ideal. It’s something we’ve kind of been dealing with all year, with guys going out to the COVID protocol. Army’s obviously an important player for us. It’s just another piece of adversity we’ll have to deal with,” Montreal defenseman Ben Chiarot said.
Armia has been a key supporting player for the Canadiens in their underdog run in the playoffs. He has eight points in 17 games, including five goals, while skating 14 minutes and 6 seconds on average. He has played primarily with veteran forwards Eric Staal and Corey Perry.
Forward Jake Evans practiced in Armia’s spot on Sunday. Evans hasn’t played since suffering a concussion on a hit from Winnipeg’s Mark Scheifele on June 2. Scheifele was suspended four games for the incident.