The NHL’s struggles with coronavirus aren’t over yet. After a month-long lull, COVID is now ravaging one team in particular: the Vancouver Canucks.
On Saturday, the NHL announced that fourteen Canucks players are on the “unavailable due to COVID protocol” list.
Those unavailable players, in full:
That’s ten players gone from their last played game, a 5-1 loss to the Jets eleven days ago. Here is that game’s lineup, annotated:
A reminder: being on the COVID list does not affirmatively mean a player has the disease. A false positive or close exposure can also make a player ineligible. However, Darren Dreger reported on Friday that there are several confirmed positive cases (no names specified) and “that there are cases here in Vancouver Canucks where the individuals are very ill.” Dreger does not specify if the “very ill” cases belong to players or staff, some of whom are also infected, but TSN’s Farhan Lalji does say some players are very ill.
The team’s first recent case was Travis Boyd on March 23. Then Adam Gaudette joined on March 30. On Friday, the numbers exploded.
With a 16-18-3 record, the Canucks have a four percent chance to make the playoffs according to HockeyViz. As of right now, all signs point to the team hurrying back to active status. Chris Johnston reports that the team is calling up AHL players so the team can get back to playing.
As the scope of the #canucks COVID situation widens, they are starting to bring players back to Vancouver from @TheAHL. They need reinforcements to serve seven-day quarantines and be ready to play when their NHL schedule resumes.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) April 3, 2021
Here’s a different notion, from former goaltender Corey Hirsch, who played four seasons with the Canucks in 1990s.
What’s happening with the @Canucks is terrifying. This could very easily happen to another team. Teams are in close environments and we’re allowing unvaccinated players to do so. Shut it down, and when all teams can get vaccinated you can finish the season.
— Corey Hirsch (@CoreyHirsch) April 3, 2021
Please get well soon, Nucks.
Screenshot courtesy of Sportsnet/Illustration by Peter Hassett
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