Boston Bruins center Charlie Coyle’s stay on the NHL’s COVID list was, by all measures, an incredibly short one.
Added to the list about 90 minutes before Wednesday’s head-to-head with the Capitals at TD Garden (and right after celebrating his 29th birthday no less), Coyle missed Wednesday’s game and Thursday’s practice, but was removed from the list about 48 hours later and was in action for Friday’s victory. Just like that. No spread to teammates, no 10-day absence. No throwing his gear in a vat of hand sanitizer or whatever they do. None of that.
This is, as countless postponements and about a zillion date changes can confirm, is rather uncommon in 2021.
So what was Coyle’s pandemic secret?
“I just had a false positive,” Coyle revealed following Saturday’s practice. “My rapid test came back right away after pregame skate when I got home. And for some reason I tested positive. I don’t know how it really works, but I got a negative back later that night and had to get two more negatives to come back [to play].
“That’s the way the league does it. It’s unfortunate [I] missed a game. But it could be could have been worse. I could’ve been doing 10 days [away from the team]. I’m glad it’s over with and put it behind us and just move on.”
Coyle, of course, was not the first Bruin to land on the COVID list. That ‘honor’ instead went to Karson Kuhlman, who missed almost all of training camp and began the year on the list before reporting to Providence.
But Coyle was the first full-time NHLer on the Bruins to land on the list, and it did give him pause when it came to, well, everything.
“Well, you start thinking about everything you’ve done the last couple of days and start questioning everything [like] ‘what did I do?’ But I wasn’t doing anything, so it was kind of hard to believe I’d be the only one to have it,” Coyle offered. “So I kind of knew in my mind I was going to be OK. There was no symptoms or anything.”
It did threw Coyle’s world upside for a quick minute, though, as off-ice training became an adventure on its own.
“Just being away from the rink for two days, [you] can’t go on the ice,” said Coyle. “I wanted to be ready for last night’s game, so it’s just trying to do workouts at home by yourself. And I’m at my apartment complex and I can’t even go in the gym there and do anything. So I’m doing body weight stuff, my house and just trying to get ready to stay in shape so I can possibly play on Friday night.
“It worked out. I felt decent, actually, but it could have been a lot worse. So I’m glad we got it over with.”
Coyle and the Bruins will host the Devils on Sunday.