Jared Bednar cleared to coach Colorado Avalanche in Game 6 after COVID-19 testing irregularity

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“It was pretty much business as usual,” Toews said. “There’s nothing to it, guys, in that standpoint. We come to the rink, we prepare for the game tonight. If we have Jared, we have Jared. If we don’t, we’ll prepare for that, as well. We’re ready to go as a group and we’re excited for the challenge.”

This is not the first time the NHL playoffs has gotten a virus testing scare. A laboratory error caused multiple false positives for the Golden Knights and St. Louis Blues during the first round, though an investigation ensured all players involved didn’t miss a game.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly earlier in the playoffs said nine of the 12 US-based playoff teams had reached the fully vaccinated threshold of 85 percent of the traveling party to qualify for relaxed protocols. The defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning are the only team of the four left in the US to confirm full vaccination.

The Montreal Canadiens are close to joining them after players got their second vaccine doses Wednesday.

Montreal will face the winner of the Vegas-Colorado series, with Tampa Bay going up against the New York Islanders in the third round for a second consecutive year.

Blue Jackets name Larsen coach

The Blue Jackets promoted Brad Larsen to fill the head coaching vacancy left after Columbus parted ways with John Tortorella after six seasons at the helm.

The 43-year-old Larsen, a former NHL forward who has been an assistant coach with the Blue Jackets for the past seven seasons, agreed to a three-year contract through the 2023-24 season, general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said.

“We underwent an exhaustive process in which we looked very closely at a number of outstanding candidates to be the next coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets and the one individual we kept coming back to throughout was Brad Larsen,” Kekalainen said in a statement. “Brad was one of the top young coaches in the American Hockey League when he joined our club as an assistant coach…