Blue Jackets’ Mikko Koivu won’t play in opener as part of NHL protocols for COVID-19

Blue Jackets

Columbus Blue Jackets’ Mikko Koivu, of Finland, runs a drill during an NHL hockey training camp practice Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Blue Jackets will open the season Thursday night without forward Mikko Koivu, who will be unavailable as part of the NHL’s protocols for COVID-19.

Koivu is the first Blue Jackets player to appear on the NHL’s list of absences related to COVID-19. Being on the list means a player may have tested positive for the virus or may be under quarantine for being in close contact with a person who has it, among other reasons.

As part of its policy, the NHL is maintaining a list of those who fall under the protocols. There were 22 other players on the initial list with Koivu.

Koivu is new to the Blue Jackets after playing 15 seasons with the Minnesota Wild, most recently as its team captain. He was expected to be a checking-line center with the Jackets.

The Blue Jackets play at the Nashville Predators at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and again on Saturday.

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