Added to COVID-19 protocol just five days ago, Elias Pettersson won’t miss a single game for the Vancouver Canucks.
Pettersson was one of three Canucks players that rejoined the team for practice in South Florida today, following time off due to testing positive for COVID-19.
Brock Boeser, who went into COVID protocol on December 29, and Jason Dickinson (January 1), also returned to the ice. Head coach Bruce Boudreau confirmed that Pettersson, Boeser, and Dickinson are all scheduled to play tomorrow against the Florida Panthers.
#Canucks practice lines at FLA Live Arena on Monday, per @CanucksPR:
— Thomas Drance (@ThomasDrance) January 10, 2022
While Boeser was less than enthused with his near two weeks in quarantine split on both sides of the border, Pettersson had a much smoother experience.
Pettersson tested positive on January 5 in Vancouver, allowing him to quarantine at home. Fully vaccinated like every other Canucks player, Pettersson was also asymptomatic in his bout with COVID.
“I didn’t have any symptoms at all. I felt completely normal,” said Pettersson.
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With 50% capacity restrictions in place, the Canucks opted to postpone their last two home games, which Pettersson would have missed had they been played.
While the 23-year-old has yet to regain the form Canucks fans are used to seeing from him, Pettersson has quietly been better under Boudreau, notching four points in the last six games.
Getting Pettersson, Boeser, and Dickinson back comes at the perfect time for the Canucks, as they prepare for their most difficult stretch of games of the season.
Vancouver’s five-game road trip will see them play five of the top six teams in the overall standings right now. The Canucks are in Florida tomorrow, and also play Tampa Bay, Carolina, Washington, and Nashville in the next eight days.
“They know who our opposition is in the next five games,” said Boudreau. “You’re playing the best of the best in the NHL right now, so it’s a test to see where you’re at. Hopefully by this time next week we’ll have figured out that we passed the test and can’t wait to get home and play some games.”
It’s a huge test, but above all, the players are just looking forward to playing games again. They’ve played just three times since December 16, and none since January 1.
“We’re very excited. Seattle (on New Year’s Day) was the last game we played and that was a long time ago,” said Pettersson. “It’s a good feeling in the group. We’re working hard every day.”
Other lineup notes
The Canucks now have three players in COVID protocol, Boudreau said, with Justin Dowling and Phil Di Giuseppe likely able to rejoin the team soon. Alex Chiasson was put into protocol on Friday, but should be able to rejoin the team by the end of the week.
Travis Hamonic, who has been on injury reserve since December 9, is not on the road trip.