More COVID fallout for Vancouver Canucks with another game delay

·2 min read
A skateboarder rides past a quiet Rogers Arena in downtown Vancouver last Thursday. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press - image credit)
A skateboarder rides past a quiet Rogers Arena in downtown Vancouver last Thursday. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press - image credit)

The Vancouver Canucks' season restart from the COVID-19 outbreak that ravaged the team has suffered a setback.

The NHL said Friday's game versus the Edmonton Oilers in Vancouver has been postponed. Saturday's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs may also be in limbo, according to posts on social media from sports journalists who cover the team.

"The decision to extend the period prior to the team's resumption of play was made to provide club staff and players with additional time for recovery and preparation following its recent COVID outbreak," the league said in a statement.

"The NHL made the decision with input from the League's, NHLPA's and club's medical groups."

The news comes one day after forward J.T. Miller questioned the wisdom of forcing the players into a tight timeline to finish the season.

"To come back and play is going to be very challenging and not very safe, if you're asking me. I'm sure there are other people who would agree with that," said Miller.

From the start, Vancouver's return-to-game timeline felt overly ambitious considering that 22 players had contracted COVID-19 and none had played a game in three weeks.

Head Coach Travis Green is still recovering from the virus.

Vancouver Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko shoots a puck after the team's game against the Calgary Flames was postponed due to an outbreak of COVID-19 on March 31.
Vancouver Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko shoots a puck after the team's game against the Calgary Flames was postponed due to an outbreak of COVID-19 on March 31.(Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

The first revamped schedule, announced this past weekend, had Vancouver playing 19 games in 31 nights.

But with every passing day, concerns grew over player health and safety and whether the Canucks could field some semblance of an NHL hockey team by Friday.

As of Thursday, three Canucks players remained on the NHL COVID-19 protocol list, down from seven the previous day.

The team held its first official practice in two weeks Thursday morning, but only after closing the rink to media.

Canucks players met with NHL Players' Association representatives Wednesday night to discuss concerns.

A new schedule has not been announced.