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Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan tests positive for COVID-19

Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan tests positive for COVID-19
Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan (C), shown Oct. 16, 2021, missed Thursday night's game against the Philadelphia Flyers after the positive test result. File Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 4 (UPI) -- Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan was unavailable for Thursday night's game against the cross-town rival Philadelphia Flyers after testing positive for COVID-19.

The team made the announcement shortly before the Penguins were scheduled to play the Flyers. Assistant coach Todd Reirden filled in for Sullivan in the matchup.

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"Wish nothing but the best for him and for a speedy recovery here as we go through the process," said Reirden, who noted that Sullivan is symptomatic.

The Penguins have been battling with a COVID-19 outbreak since training camp began. Eight players have entered the NHL's coronavirus protocols since mid-September, including team captain Sidney Crosby and defensemen Brian Dumoulin, Marcus Pettersson and Chad Ruhwedel this week.

Sullivan said Wednesday that Crosby and Pettersson were symptomatic, while Ruhwedel was asymptomatic.

Penguins forwards Jake Guentzel, Jeff Carter and Zach Aston-Reese tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of training camp but have since returned to the lineup. Veteran defenseman Kris Letang, who was put in the protocol Oct. 23, made his return against the Flyers.

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"It seems like it's been something we've been dealing with for a while now," Reirden said. "As we work through it here, the focus is going to be on us trying to find some of the hockey we were playing in the beginning of the year."

The Penguins jumped out to a 3-0-2 start to begin the 2021-22 campaign, but they have dropped three consecutive games entering Thursday's showdown against the Flyers.

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