The news comes one day after Vancouver forward J.T. Miller delivered passionate remarks saying his team was being rushed back after a COVID outbreak, adding that it is “dangerous to a lot of players.”
“What we’re being asked to do is not going to be too safe, if you’re asking me,” Miller told reporters Wednesday.
Sportsnet first reported on Friday’s postponement. It’s still unclear whether Saturday’s Canucks game, against the Toronto Maple Leafs, will still be played. After the Canucks hadn’t played since March 24, the NHL originally scheduled them to play their final 19 games in 31 days, delaying the end of the North Division regular season.
On Wednesday night, the NHLPA held a Zoom call with Canucks players to discuss their concerns, a source told ESPN. On Thursday, some players reported to the Canucks facility and underwent medical examinations and cardiology screenings. After that, the NHL, NHLPA and Canucks said they would determine the best course of action going forward.
All players who had COVID must be cleared by a team doctor and cardiologist before returning to the ice. However, some players still had reservations about suiting up so soon.
One player told ESPN on Tuesday that although doctors have told him he is no longer contagious after contracting the virus, he is still experiencing some aftereffects such as brain fog. The player told ESPN that he is planning to resume play with the team, though he is concerned about “the unknown.”
Miller was one of the few players on the team who did not contract the virus in the past few weeks. Many players were symptomatic — experiencing body aches, chills, dehydration — including one player who required an IV, a source told ESPN.
“I hope people don’t take this the wrong way, I’m a super competitive guy,” said Miller, a nine-year NHL veteran. “But this isn’t about hockey for our team. This is about the health and safety of our players, their family and their children. This isn’t about making the playoffs.”
The NHL said there is a chance the Stanley Cup playoffs could begin for the three United States-based divisions while the North Division finishes up regular-season play.
The Canucks are 10 points behind the Montreal Canadiens for the fourth playoff spot in the North Division.
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