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San Jose Sharks Back To Full Strength; Head Coach, 7 Players Return From NHL COVID Protocol

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) -- Head coach Bob Boughner and seven players including Timo Meier, Erik Karlsson and Marc-Edouard Vlasic were cleared by the National Hockey League Friday to rejoin the San Jose Sharks active roster after spending time in the league's COVID protocol.

The other players were Kevin Labanc, Jake Middleton, Matt Nieto and Radim Simek.

At the time they were ordered off the ice late last month, the team was in the throes of a three-game losing streak. Since that time, with a roster bolstered by several players from the team's minor league squad, the Sharks have rolled to a 3-2-1 record.

The importance of that run is not lost on Sharks forward Nick Bonino.

"You go 1-5, you put yourself behind the eight ball," Bonino said. "So to come out of this with a winning record and continue on the road with maybe some guys back is really big for us."

While individual players on pro sports franchises have been sidelined by COVID protocols this season, most notability Green Bay Packer quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the Sharks have been the hardest hit as a team.

Aside from confirming the players were all fully vaccinated, the team has not commented further on the exposure.

Ironically, the UC-Berkeley football program has also been dealing with COVID issues. The Golden Bears were forced to postpone this weekend's game against the USC Trojans because of a "major outbreak" of COVID-19 cases.

The City of Berkeley Department of Health confirmed 44 have tested positive for coronavirus and said the team didn't take the proper measures to stop the spread.

In a statement, the health department said coaches and players didn't test or stay home when they were sick and didn't mask indoors. This led to several more player testing positive Tuesday and has forced the Pac-12 to postpone this weekend's game.

"To see our staff frustrated or to see our student athletes frustrated, it's just challenging," said Cal Athletic Director Jim Knowlton.

More than 99% of the team is vaccinated but dozens tested positive for COVID. In last Saturday's loss to Arizona 24 players were missing including starting quarterback Chase Garbers and 12 coaches. Head Coach Justin Wilcox was visibly upset after the game.


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