The Vancouver Canucks’ Friday contest against the Edmonton Oilers has been postponed, according to Sportsnet’s Elliote Friedman.
The Canucks did practice Thursday, but seven players were still on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list by Wednesday. The Thursday practice was closed to all media.
Vancouver reportedly met with the NHLPA Wednesday night via Zoom to discuss their concerns about the current return to play plan.
That Zoom meeting came after forward J.T. Miller stated the NHL’s return to action schedule was “not very safe” given the number of Canucks still struggling with COVID-19 symptoms.
“I just want to make sure that everybody’s families are doing well, mine included,” he said. “Mentally, even for me, this hasn’t been the easiest year. I mean, I’m coming up on 50 days of quarantine in this last year.”
Miller did not test positive for COVID-19, but he noted that the health of his teammates was a topic if serious concern.
“We’ve tried to talk about the number one priority [being] the players’ health and the families’ safety, and it’s almost impossible to achieve that with what they’ve asked us to do here on our return,” said Miller. “I can’t speak on behalf of the guys that have had COVID, but I’ve talked to my teammates a lot, and this hasn’t obviously been that easy.”
The Canucks haven’t played since March 24 and at least 21 players were added to the COVID-19 protocol list as a result of this outbreak.
Friday’s game against Edmonton was to be the first of a back-to-back, with a Saturday game scheduled against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Canucks are on tap to play 19 games in 31 days.
Now the schedule is once again up in the air, with the NHL responding to some very sensible team concerns.
While there’s no current indication that Saturday’s game against Toronto will also be postponed, it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see some movement on that front. More changes will surely be coming in short order as Vancouver continues to wrangle with this coronavirus outbreak.