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Blues place Kyle Clifford on NHL’s Covid-19 protocol list

He’s the fourth member of the team out this season.

Los Angeles Kings v St Louis Blues
Ohhhh no
Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Do you remember when the mumps went around the entire NHL a few seasons back? Remember how it took out a good number of Blues, and other players from other franchises?

Yeah, turns out that locker rooms aren’t good for communicable diseases, even with a vaccine.

The Blues announced on Tuesday that Kyle Clifford will join Ville Husso and Ryan O’Reilly on the NHL’s Covid-19 protocol list. Forward Brandon Saad was just removed. Saad skated with the team before their 1-0 victory against the Blackhawks on Saturday night, and should be ready to go for tomorrow night’s game against the Los Angeles Kings.

This season, Clifford has been in and out of the lineup on the fourth line. In two games played, he has an assist against his former club, the Kings.

When questioned about losing Clifford, coach Craig Berube’s tone in his response reflected many people’s attitude at this point in the pandemic: shit, pardon my French, happens.

“Yeah, that’s not good,” coach Craig Berube said. “We lose players. I don’t know. I really don’t have an answer about how this is all going to turn out. That’s four guys now. We get Saad back, which is good, so he’ll take Clifford’s spot and (Joel) Hofer’s up for Husso.”

That members of the team are getting breakthrough infections and going on the protocol list, as Tom Timmerman of the Post-Dispatch pointed out in the above linked article, between three to five days apart, which seems about right. Will there be more? Possibly, because while vaccines protect against the disease, they’re not 100% preventative. A vast majority of the league has the vaccine - only four don’t, as of the 13th of October, so maybe that number is just Tyler Bertuzzi now - but many players began getting the shot back in April. Immunity is waning for those who did. It’s unclear what vaccine the league used for vaccination, or if they allowed players to make that choice for themselves, but if it was the single-dosage Johnson and Johnson shot we’ll be seeing more players across the league get put on the list as immunity drops.

Ryan O’Reilly will be traveling with the team on this road trip and will be good to go for Saturday’s game against the Ducks, so presumably he has tested negative and it just waiting out the required games off.