J.T. Miller Says Canucks' Schedule After Return from COVID-19 Outbreak Isn't Safe

Blake SchusterContributor IApril 14, 2021

VANCOUVER, BC - MARCH 24: Vancouver Canucks Center J.T. Miller (9) warms up before playing the Winnipeg Jets during their NHL game at Rogers Arena on March 24, 2021 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Devin Manky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Devin Manky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Vancouver Canucks winger J.T. Miller believes the NHL has created an unsafe environment after rescheduling a number of games following a COVID-19 outbreak within the organization. 

The league wants the Canuck to play 19 games in 31 days after 25 players tested positive for the coronavirus, leading to a weeks-long shutdown of team activities. 

Vancouver #Canucks @Canucks

"I don't really feel ready at all." J.T. Miller speaks on the #Canucks current situation. <br><br>(Part 1 of 2) pic.twitter.com/JkoV2Esy2O

Vancouver #Canucks @Canucks

"It's all about the health and safety of our players and their families and children." - J.T. Miller speaks on the #Canucks mindset <br><br>(Part 2 of 2) pic.twitter.com/H7CHqgYZYl

"This is nothing to do with hockey," Miller told reporters. "To be brutally honest, we're going to need more time than this to come back and play hockey. Even the guys that didn't get it aren't ready."

Miller is the second player to publicly question the league's decision. Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid called out the NHL last week after the league scheduled a game immediately following a memorial service for teammate Colby Cave. The move was made in order to accommodate the Canucks' new schedule.     

Oilers coach Dave Tippett responded by giving Edmonton two days off for their team's mental health following the day of the memorial. The Canucks won't have the luxury of giving players extra rest. 

Seven Vancouver players remain on the COVID-19 list with the team preparing to resume play on Fridayโ€”its first contest since March 24.

That will kick off a stretch of five games in seven days.

"What we're being asked to do is not going to be too safe," Miller said. "I know everyone has a job to do but to expect our entire team to be ready to play in one practice and a pre-game skate is a bit hard to comprehend."

Vancouver returns to the ice 16-18-3 (35 points) 10 points back of the Montreal Canadiens for the fourth and final postseason spot in the North Division.