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Canadiens' Joel Armia in COVID-19 protocol, won't travel for Stanley Cup Final

Montreal Canadiens forward Joel Armia, shown Jan. 10, 2019, has recorded eight points over 17 games this postseason. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI
Montreal Canadiens forward Joel Armia, shown Jan. 10, 2019, has recorded eight points over 17 games this postseason. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

June 27 (UPI) -- Montreal Canadiens winger Joel Armia has entered the NHL's COVID-19 health and safety protocols and won't travel with the team to Florida for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin made the announcement Sunday, saying he would provide additional details Monday.

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It remains unclear how long Armia will be in the league's protocol or whether he tested positive for the coronavirus. He has yet to be ruled out for Game 1 of the championship series, which begins Monday night.

This is the second time that Armia has been put in the COVID-19 protocol. He was out of Montreal's lineup from March 22 through April 10 after testing positive for a variant of the virus. The Canadiens had four games postponed due to COVID-19 around that same time.

"It's not ideal. It's something we've kind of been dealing with all year, with guys going out to the COVID protocol," Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot said. "Army's obviously an important player for us. It's just another piece of adversity we'll have to deal with."

Armia has been a key contributor for the Canadiens during their improbable run in the playoffs. He has recorded eight points in 17 postseason matchups, including five goals, while averaging about 14 minutes of ice time per game. He has primarily played alongside veteran forwards Eric Staal and Corey Perry.

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Forward Jake Evans practiced in place of Armia on Sunday. Evans hasn't played since suffering a concussion during a playoff game against the Winnipeg Jets on June 2.

Montreal also is without head coach Dominique Ducharme, who was required to quarantine for 14 days after testing positive for COVID-19 on June 18. Ducharme said Saturday he plans to return for Game 3 of the Final on July 2 in Montreal.

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