The Blackhawks’ COVID-19 outbreak keeps getting worse.
Jonathan Toews and Henrik Borgstrom were added to the NHL’s COVID protocols Tuesday and missed practice.
Although the news has been overshadowed by general manager Stan Bowman’s departure in the wake of findings of a cover-up stemming from a sexual-assault allegation against former video coach Brad Aldrich, the fully vaccinated Hawks now are missing five players and three assistant coaches because of COVID.
Toews, Borgstrom, Patrick Kane, Jujhar Khaira and Riley Stillman are the absent players; Tomas Mitell, Marc Crawford and Jimmy Waite are the absent coaches.
Sheldon Brookbank was the only typical assistant at practice Monday and Tuesday, with player-development adviser Chris Kunitz and American Hockey League goalie coach Peter Aubry filling in underneath coach Jeremy Colliton.
Placement on the COVID list doesn’t necessarily mean one tested positive. But if all five players remain unavailable Wednesday, the Hawks will face the Maple Leafs with only 20 players on the roster.
And if Mike Hardman — who missed the last two games with a concussion but returned to practice Monday — can’t play, the Hawks will be short-handed and able to dress only 11 forwards.
Toews’ placement on the COVID list comes only six regular-season games into his return. He registered his first NHL points since August 2020 on Sunday, notching two assists against the Red Wings. He previously has said his medical absence last season was due in part to long-haul COVID symptoms.
When they return, Toews and Kane will have to address the findings of an investigation that Aldrich assaulted a player during the Hawks’ Stanley Cup run in 2010.