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Coyotes’ Crouse to play Thursday after clearing COVID protocols

Arizona Coyotes left wing Lawson Crouse shoots during the first period of the team's NHL hockey game against the Florida Panthers, Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Arizona Coyotes forward Lawson Crouse will play in the team’s season opener against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday after passing NHL COVID-19 protocols, reports Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro.

Crouse was the only Arizona player on a league list of players who were unavailable on Wednesday, in accordance with the league’s COVID-19 protocols. He was unable to practice or play with the team.

The NHL says it will keep an updated list daily of which players are unavailable. No additional details are to be provided, including the specific reason or how long a player will be out.

Players may be made unavailable for various reasons including an initial positive test that remains unconfirmed, a confirmed positive test result, quarantine due to coronavirus symptoms, quarantine due to high-risk close contact with a positive person and quarantine for travel or other reasons.

Crouse was acquired by the Coyotes from the Florida Panthers in 2016. He’s appeared in a total of 230 games for the team, recording 32 goals with 31 assists and averaging 12:42 while on the ice.

If Crouse would have been unavailable, the Coyotes could have moved up a player from its six-man taxi squad.

Players on taxi squads can be put on the active roster as late as 5 p.m. ET on a game day, giving clubs a better chance of having four lines, three defensive pairings and two goaltenders even if rosters take a hit because of COVID-19 protocols. Teams must have three goaltenders available among the 29 players.

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