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Canadiens' Dominique Ducharme 'Confident' of Return Before End of Stanley Cup Semis

Jenna CiccotelliCorrespondent IIJune 21, 2021

Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Montreal Canadiens interim head coach Dominique Ducharme, who will miss his second game of the Stanley Cup semifinals Sunday, thinks he'll be able to return to the bench before the end of the series against the Vegas Golden Knights after testing positive for COVID-19.

Ducharme said he is "confident" he'll be back before the 14-day isolation period is over, as he said he is symptom-free and will be considered fully vaccinated (two weeks after receiving the second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine) on Wednesday. 

The league announced Friday that Ducharme had tested positive for the virus, but all other players, coaches and staff tested negative on Thursday and Friday.

Ducharme said Sunday that no one he has interacted with, including his girlfriend, have tested positive and he has followed the league's COVID protocols. 

In Nevada, the Canadiens were limited to specific areas of the hotel and traveled by bus to the rink, according to the Associated Press (h/t ESPN). 

He added that "the whole team" has received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and will be considered fully vaccinated Wednesday, according to Sean Farrell of NHL.com. 

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"It's frustrating because I've been doing everything that they've asked us to do. I never exposed myself. I got that bad luck," he said. 

Montreal is the only Canadian team to cross the United States border this season, since all seven teams based in the country played in an exclusive North Division during the regular season, which only consisted of intradivision games. 

Ducharme, who took over for Claude Julien when he was fired in February, was replaced by assistant coach Luke Richardson in Game 3 of the series, when the Canadiens won 3-2 in overtime. Richardson, who shared coaching duties with former assistant Kirk Muller during the postseason last year when Julien was hospitalized, will do the same in Game 4.

"You feel helpless, just watching and hoping for the best," he said. "It's a weird situation. I've never been through that. The last time I watched the Canadiens on TV it was probably like three years, four years ago. Kind of a special situation, but it's been a special year. We've been through a lot, and we'll get through that." 

Game 4 of the series is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET on Sunday in Montreal, and the series returns to Vegas for Game 5 on Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET.

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