Kings’ Blake Lizotte added to COVID protocol list; Wild’s Kevin Fiala suspended
Team members can enter the protocol for any number of reasons, including exhibiting symptoms of the virus or coming into close contact with a person who has a confirmed case. Players are not available for practices, travel or games until they clear protocol.
Athanasiou and Lizotte, who had two goals in the first eight games of his second full season, had been playing together on the Kings’ second line alongside Jeff Carter.
In one day, the Kings lost one player to COVID protocols, two to frightening-looking injuries and their series finale to the Minnesota Wild.
If Athanasiou and Lizotte are unavailable for the ’ next game Tuesday against the Ducks, the Kings likely will be required to promote one of their forwards from the taxi squad (Jaret Anderson-Dolan was assigned from the active roster to taxi squad Friday).
The Kings’ defense also returned from this week’s four-game trip banged up after Sean Walker and Matt Roy both left Thursday’s game early with frightening-looking injuries. Roy’s occurred on a hit from behind delivered by the Wild’s Kevin Fiala that Kings coach Todd McLellan called a dangerous play.
The league thought so too, announcing a three-game suspension for Fiala on Friday after the NHL Department of Player Safety held a hearing with him.
“It is important to note that Fiala is entirely in control of how this play develops,” the league’s player safety decision video explained. “From the time the puck is dumped in, he sees nothing but Roy’s numbers.”
It added: “While we acknowledge Fiala’s assertion that he did not intend to cause Roy’s impact with the boards, the contact is delivered at high speed and a dangerous distance from the boards.”
Walker was hit in the face by a shot by Minnesota’s Matt Dumba in the third period. Walker was bleeding as he skated to the bench and needed help getting to the locker room.
The Kings have not provided an update on either Roy or Walker.
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