Vancouver Canucks’ return from covid delay paused by NHL after J.T. Miller’s complaints

The NHL expects to release a revised schedule on Friday. Including the scheduled game that day against the Edmonton Oilers, the Canucks have missed at least seven games from a condensed 56-game schedule. The regular season, which began January 13, was originally supposed to end on May 8, but Vancouver’s troubles caused the league to postpone that date to May 16.

Despite this extra time, the Canucks were to play 19 times in 31 days, which was heavily criticized by JT Miller, the Vancouver forward. When Miller discovered Thursday that the team’s first practice session since the outbreak was on that day, and only one pregame skate took place on Friday before returning to NHL competition, he said the situation was “dangerous for many players “.

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“It’s kind of crazy,” said Miller. “I know everyone has a job to do, but expecting our entire team to be ready to play in a practice session and a pregame skate is a little hard to understand. …

“We’re trying to talk about priority number one, which is the health of the players and the safety of their families and it’s almost impossible to do what they asked us to do when we got back here.”

Miller is among the relatively few Canucks who are not known to have tested positive for the coronavirus. At one point this past week, the NHL’s Covid-19 protocol list included 21 Vancouver players plus four employees. The team said the cause was an unspecified variant of the virus.

As of Thursday, the Canucks still had three players on the Covid list, from 16 on Tuesday. Miller noted, however, that being struck off the record is one thing and being fully fit and ready to play hockey is another. The tenth-year veteran, who played for the New York Rangers and the Tampa Bay Lightning, told ESPN that some teammates “struggled to breathe up and down the stairs.”

“By [Thursday], their “full team” will be healthy and clear, “said NHL Vice Commissioner Bill Daly via email to Hockey News on Wednesday about the Canucks.” So from a health / COVID perspective, we don’t see any additional risks Planning out the remaining schedule is challenging but certainly not unprecedented. Very similar compression to some other teams this year and, quite frankly, all teams in the Olympic years. But most of all, the team wants to end its season.

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“We’re not turning our arms here,” Daly continued. “Everything, including the resumption date and various other critical aspects of the remaining schedule, has been done entirely in collaboration, with input and approval from the club.”

After the NHL announced Thursday it would delay the return of the Canucks, Vancouver general manager Jim Benning said in a statement that his team’s medical staff are “confident that the recovery process for these players is through a few further days is supported “.

“A full medical examination consistent with returning to playing NHL COVID protocols will be performed before any player resumes training,” Benning said. “To date, some players have passed the assessment, but many have not yet been approved and additional recovery time is required.”

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With 35 points in 37 games, the Canucks occupy sixth place in the all-Canadian Northern Division with seven teams. They are 10 points behind the Montreal Canadiens, who postponed four games in March due to an outbreak and whose 40 games are second to last in the NHL. The top four teams in each division qualify for the playoffs, and Montreal ranks fourth in the north.

Vancouver is expected to play at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday and Monday. The Toronto Star quoted an industry source as reporting that these games could be postponed to Sunday and Tuesday if the NHL announces its revised schedule on Friday.