PITTSBURGH, PA -- Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Sullivan will not be available for Thursday's game against Philadelphia because he was positive for COVID-19.
The announcement was made just hours before the Penguins were due to face the Flyers. Todd Reirden, assistant coach, will replace Sullivan. Reirden stated that Sullivan is symptomatic and will be out for several days as per the NHL's COVID-19 protocol.
Reirden stated, "Wishes only the best for him" and that he would make a quick recovery as he goes through this process.
Since training camp began, the Penguins have been dealing with a COVID-19 epidemic. Since mid-September, eight players have joined the protocol, including Sidney Crosby, defensemen Marcus Pettersson and Brian Dumoulin. Philadelphia will not be able to host them all.
Forwards Zach Aston–Reese and Jeff Carter tested positive for COVID-19 during training camp, but have since returned. Kris Letang, a defenseman who was placed in protocol Oct. 23, will be returning to the ice against Flyers.
Sullivan's positive test was on a day when the Penguins cancelled their morning skate to reduce their face-to–face interactions prior to the game.
Reirden stated, "It seems as if it's something we've dealt with for a while now." We are working through it together. Our focus will be on finding some of the hockey that we played at the beginning of the year.
They started the season at 3-0-2, with Crosby out due to injury to his left wrist. However, they have lost three straight since then and are now facing the Flyers in their first meeting of the season.
Reirden is not a new head coach. Reirden was the Washington head coach for two years from 2018-20. He then returned to Pittsburgh as an assistant coach, where he was under Dan Bylsma between 2010-14.