Canucks' Return to Action After COVID-19 Outbreak Delayed by NHL

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVApril 15, 2021

VANCOUVER, BC - FEBRUARY 23: The Vancouver Canucks logo projected on seat coverings inside Rogers Arena before the Canucks play the Edmonton Oilers during their NHL game at Rogers Arena on February 23, 2021 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Devin Manky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Devin Manky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

On Thursday, the NHL announced it delayed plans for the Vancouver Canucks to return to action Friday because of the COVID-19 outbreak that struck the team.

"The decision to extend the period prior to the team's resumption of play was made to provide Club staff and Players with additional time for recovery and preparation following its recent COVID outbreak," the announcement read. "The NHL made the decision with input from the League's, NHLPA's and Club's medical groups."

Schedule changes for the North Division will be released Friday.

Vancouver has not played a game since March 24.

This comes after forward J.T. Miller told reporters he did not believe the league's rescheduling plan for the Canucks was safe:

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 said. "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."

Emily Kaplan of ESPN noted the NHL planned for Vancouver to play its last 19 games in the span of 31 days, which delayed the end of the North Division's regular-season slate. However, the league held a Zoom call with players Wednesday to address their concerns.

Kaplan reported a number of the players who contracted the virus were symptomatic, including one who needed an IV.

Vancouver is 16-18-3 for 35 points through 37 games. It is 10 points behind the Montreal Canadiens for the final playoff spot from the division.