Winless Winnipeg Jets without Captain Blake Wheeler (COVID-19) for at least four games

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Winnipeg Jets captain Blake Wheeler will miss at least four games while sidelined for COVID-19.

The Jets said ahead of their game on Tuesday in Minnesota that Wheeler was symptomatic after testing positive for the virus.

Under NHL rules for this season, that means Wheeler must self-isolate from the team for at least 10 days and will need a doctor’s approval to return once symptoms are gone. Wheeler was placed on the league’s COVID-19 protocols on Monday.

The Jets host Anaheim on Thursday and Nashville on Saturday before playing Anaheim on October 26, all games Wheeler, 35, will be absent for in addition to the game against the Wild in the region where he grew up.

“We’re focusing on the guys playing today,” coach Paul Maurice said after the team’s early morning practice. “Then we’ll make sure he gets lots of phone calls as soon as he feels 100%.”

Wheeler has collected an assist in Winnipeg’s first two games this season. The 14-season NHL veteran had 15 goals and 31 assists in 50 games with the Jets last season.

No other positive test was reported by the Jets. All their players are vaccinated.

“Obviously the virus is still there and you still need to be aware of it, so just an extra precaution,” said center Mark Scheifele.

Andrew Copp had to slip into Wheeler’s place on the front row.

“I’m not sure how scary is the right word, but it kind of gives us a jerk that it’s still there,” Copp said.

The Jets, back in the Central Division with a traditional realignment back this season, came in last place on Tuesday, 0-2, four points behind the Blues and Wild.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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