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The Ottawa Senators currently have nine players in COVID-19 protocol, the NHL announced on Thursday. Goaltender Matt Murray, forward Alex Formenton and defenseman Nikita Zaitsev were all placed in NHL COVID-19 protocol on Thursday by the team. 

That trio joins defensemen Josh Brown, Victor Mete and Nick Holden, as well as forwards Austin Watson, Connor Brown and Dylan Gambrell in COVID-19 protocol, bringing the team total to nine.

Senators coach D.J. Smith commented on the outbreak, saying that, right now, the team has to keep going forward.

“All you can do is just keep playing. We want to get a win to get everyone feeling good. It’s not the ideal situation, but no one feels bad for you in this league,” he said. “We’re privileged to play and be in the NHL and we’re going to go out there and give it all we’ve got.”

The team did not practice on Wednesday as a precaution. The team canceled practice 48 hours earlier on Monday as well.

With so many absences on the team, the Senators have brought in a few players to help in the meantime. On Thursday, defensemen Dillon Heatherington and Lassi Thompson and forward Andrew Agozzino were recalled from the American Hockey League.

On Monday, forwards Scott Sabourin and Egor Sokolov were recalled from Belleville, the same team the others were recalled from. Defenseman Erik Brannstrom was brought from Belleville on Sunday.

“We just want to get through this as a group and get back to playing hockey every day with a full lineup and a healthy group,” Smith said. “I think everyone’s stressed. You want to win hockey games, you want to be healthy, you’re worrying about a lot of things, but like everything else, it’ll pass and we’ll be better for it.” 

The Senators played the Kings on Friday.