Report: Canucks' return pushed back with two postponed games

Justin Cuthbert
·2-min read

The Vancouver Canucks' much-discussed return to action has been pushed back.

The NHL confirmed Thursday afternoon that the scheduled matchup between the Canucks and visiting Edmonton Oilers on Friday night has been postponed. It's believed that Vancouver's clash Saturday versus the Toronto Maple Leafs will also be delayed, according to TSN's Pierre LeBrun, allowing for another few days of preparation after the COVID-19 virus spread throughout the team. 

Vancouver has been out of action since March 30, with the virus affecting at least 21 players, four members of the coaching staff, and many family members.

J.T. Miller sounded off on the situation on Wednesday. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
J.T. Miller sounded off on the situation on Wednesday. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

Medical groups associated with the NHL, NHLPA and the Canucks met on Thursday to discuss and evaluate the team's return to competition. It appears the results of those talks influenced the decision to postpone the games. The word that the extra few hours will "make a big difference to a lot of players," according to Sportsnet's Dan Murphy.

Vancouver's next scheduled game is Monday versus the Maple Leafs. The schedule will remain relentlessly busy through until the end of the season for the illness-torn organization, which still has 19 games remaining on a season that is scheduled to end on May 16.

Canucks forward J.T. Miller provided eye-opening remarks about the decision to return so quickly in a media appearance Wednesday, expressing concern over the players' safety. Miller was one of the few players to not contract the virus, and he suggested that he wasn't ready to return to action given his lengthy time away from the ice. 

"We try to talk about the No. 1 priority is the players' health and the families' safety, and it's almost impossible to achieve that with what they've asked us to do here on our return," Miller said.

The Canucks practised for the first time since the outbreak Thursday.

Vancouver is 10 points out of postseason position with a handful of games in hand, and, it seems, is essentially only playing out the remainder of the season to fulfill contractual obligations.

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