The Pittsburgh Penguins have just shared some very bad news.
According to an official announcement from the organization, veteran forward Jake Guentzel has tested positive for Covid-19 and as a result he will now have to step away from the team. The Penguins will of course follow the National Hockey League's Covid protocols in dealing with this positive test, and according to the team Guentzel is being monitored by their medical staff.
The timing of this is very poor for the Penguins with the NHL's regular season now just days away. Given that the Penguins are saying that Guentzel has been "confirmed" positive, it stands to reason that he will have to spend some time isolating himself away from his fellow teammates. Not only will this limit his preparations for the upcoming season, but it seems likely that Guentzel will miss the start of the season if he is indeed forced to quarantine as a result of this positive test.
There is of course an even greater concern that Guentzel's season here however and that is the concern surrounding his health. The good news here is that Guentzel is a young athlete at the prime of his career and the expectation is that he will make a full recovery and hopefully in short order. That being said the symptoms associated with Covid-19 can be quite severe and players like NHL veteran James Neal have spoken publicly about how a bad bout with Covid completely derailed their seasons.
No doubt Guentzel's health will be first and foremost among the Penguins concerns and I suspect that they will also be on high alert when it comes to anyone, players or staff, that have recently been in contact with the player.
The stage is set for this to be a big season for Guentzel, both because he is coming off a point per game season and due to the fact that this will be his final season before his modified no trade clause kicks in. Hopefully this bout of Covid does not get in the way of things for the 26 year old.
We wish Jake and everyone else afflicted by this virus a full and speedy recovery.