Sammy Blais was expected to be in tonight on the third line. Instead, during warm-ups, Mackenzie MacEachern was slotted in his place, and Austin Poganski was placed on the fourth line in MacEachern’s place.
Sammy Blais is now on the NHL’s active COVID-19 protocol list.
#StLBlues forward Sammy Blais added to NHL COVID protocol list along with #NYR forward Kaapo Kakko.— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) February 20, 2021
He’s the first member of the Blues to be placed on the list since the start of the season, which allowed the Blues to have the distinction of being the only American team without a player who has missed time due to possible COVID exposure.
The full protocol for players on the list can be found here. Roughly, it means that if a player is placed on the list, he has either had contact with a positive person, has a possible positive exposure, or actually has COVID-19.
The Tampa Bay Times has a solid breakdown of what this all means if a player tests positive for the virus.
If a player receives a positive test, they must self-isolate immediately and the team begins contact tracing. The player is then given another test, and if they continue to test positive, they continue to isolate. If the player’s second test is negative, the player must test negative for two for two more consecutive days to be removed from the list. If a suspected close contact, the player must test negative for two straight days and show no symptoms.