NHL postpones Canucks return after players raise health concerns: report

Apr 15 2021, 12:15 pm

The Vancouver Canucks will get at least one more day to prepare for their season to restart, according to multiple reports.

Jason Gregor of TSN 1260 in Edmonton is reporting that the Oilers aren’t flying to Vancouver today for tomorrow’s scheduled game at Rogers Arena. The game has reportedly been postponed, and it remains to be seen if Saturday’s game — scheduled to be the feature game on Hockey Night in Canada against the Toronto Maple Leafs — will follow suit, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

The Canucks held a rare closed-door practice this morning, which raised eyebrows. Players reportedly spoke to representatives from the NHLPA Wednesday evening while the team conducted medical testing today.

J.T. Miller was outspoken yesterday, calling out the NHL for what he said was a “not very safe” schedule. The Canucks had been asked to play 19 games in 31 days, despite many players still recovering from COVID-19.

The team was scheduled to have just one full practice today before playing back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday, as part of a stretch of six games in nine nights.

“I don’t really feel ready at all, if I’m being completely honest,” said Miller, who was one of the lucky ones to not test positive for COVID-19.


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“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. 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.

“It’s different for everybody, and now to try to come back and play is going to be very challenging, and not very safe if you’re asking me. And I’m sure there’s other people that would agree with that. I don’t know what it’s going to take for us to try to avoid injury, stay healthy.”

The Canucks haven’t played a game since March 24, with all their games being postponed since March 31, following a COVID-19 outbreak that resulted in 25 players, coaches, and staff testing positive.

“One practice isn’t even close to near enough time to come back and perform at a high level,” Miller added. “It’s not even about not being able to perform, it’s nothing to do with hockey at this point. Brutally honestly, we’re going to need more time than this to come back and play hockey.

“Even the guys that didn’t get it, we’re not ready to play.”

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