Vancouver Canucks’ return from COVID-19 pause is postponed

Mar 17, 2021; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators left wing Nick Paul (13) battles for the puck with Vancouver Canucks center J.T. Miller (9) in overtime at the Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

The Vancouver Canucks will not return to competition Friday after all, as the NHL is postponing their return from a lengthy COVID-19-related pause, multiple reports said Thursday.

An outbreak of COVID-19 affected 26 members of the organization, 22 of them players, according to nhl.com. The Canucks, who haven’t played since March 24, were supposed to return Friday with a home game against the Edmonton Oilers.

The Canucks are also scheduled to play Saturday against the Toronto Maple Leafs, and it was unclear whether that game would also be postponed or remain in place.

ESPN and The Athletic reported that Canucks players held a call Wednesday night with the NHL Players Association to air concerns about ramping up too quickly after the long break from action.

Canucks center J.T. Miller told reporters Wednesday that what the NHL was asking Vancouver to do — play 19 games in 31 days after no action for three weeks — “is not going to be too safe, if you’re asking me.”

“Even the guys that didn’t get (the virus) aren’t ready,” Miller said. “We try to talk about our No. 1 priority is our players’ health and their families’ safety, and it’s impossible to achieve that with what we’re being asked to do.”

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–Field Level Media