Yukon's Dylan Cozens benched by NHL's COVID-19 'protocol list'

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Yukon's own Dylan Cozens won't see practice, travel, or game time after being placed on the NHL's COVID-19 "protocol list" on Saturday.

The list identifies players who are "unavailable" because of presumptive positive tests, possible exposure, or another reason for quarantine. The precise reason a player is placed on the list is never given.

Cozens was added to the list Saturday evening alongside teammate Curtis Lazar, becoming the sixth and seventh Buffalo Sabres players to be benched by the protocol.

Head coach Ralph Kreuger is also on the list after testing positive for COVID-19 on Thursday.

Buffalo's practice facilities have been closed indefinitely since Tuesday, and more than a dozen Sabres games have been rescheduled.

Last week, The Athletic reported that Sabres management were "furious" at the league for allowing a Saturday game against the New Jersey Devils to proceed.

"It turns out they played against 10 Devils who are now sitting out," said John Vogl, a Sabres beat writer, in their reporting.

Cozens, born and raised in Whitehorse, has developed a local following after making history as the seventh overall draft pick in the 2019 NHL entry draft, the highest every pick from Yukon.

He's gone on to serve as an alternate captain for the Canadian world juniors hockey team and has three points in five games this season.

As of Friday, nine teams had players on the protocol list, including Winnipeg's Pierre-Luc Dubois.

Outbreaks have created a wide disparity in games played — the Vancouver Canucks have played 15 games to the Carolina Hurricanes' eight, for example.

It's not clear when Cozens could return to the team, or when the Sabres' facilities will reopen. Their next game is scheduled for Thursday against the Washington Capitals.