I’m unhappy to report I’m questionable for Vancouver Canucks practice today. The weather doesn’t bother me, it’s due to a previous media obligation. I’d snowshoe it if I had to.
What will likely be most intriguing for those media types who do make it to the rink will be the initial “roll call”. That’s when we scan around the ice and on the bench to determine which injured or Covid-protocol’ed players might be back with the team. Some serious “questionables” remain. Now that they’re apparently back in the country, have Brock Boeser and Phil Di Giuseppe cleared the necessary governmental hurdles? Justin Dowling hit the list on December 30th. What’s his status? When and where is Jason Dickinson; he joined the protocol list a little later, just five days ago.
Elias Pettersson officially went on the list Wednesday. Since it sounds like we’re past the possible “false-positive” stage with him, his presence Saturday night at Rogers Arena against the Ottawa Senators seems highly unlikely. At least he wasn’t travelling when he got listed.
The ongoing mystery that is Travis Hamonic? We know he suffered a lower body injury on a hit by Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins in the 2nd period of the game on December 8th. Add that to his preseason and early season vaxx/no-vaxx adventure, and it’s been a hell of a campaign so far for number-27.
The fact that the Abbotsford Canucks have a home game tonight might factor into attendance as well.
So while Canucks Head Coach Bruce Boudreau has been able to conduct a bit of a mini-camp over the holidays and into the New Year, it still feels a bit incomplete. Covid has left this Canucks team, and so many others around the NHL, with discombobulated line-ups.
Apparently by Saturday evening the Senators should have a majority of their players back.
I reckon with last year in mind, the Canucks shouldn’t complain too much. A smattering of players with minimal symptoms, missing out mainly for bureaucratic and precautionary reasons, pales in comparison to the traumatic season that was the prior one.
No need to rehash the wipe-out of the Vancouver Canucks in the spring of 2021.
The club will try to maintain the enthusiasm and energy that has carried them through an 8-0-and-1 record under Boudreau. They did well coming out of their last delay, taking five of a possible six points out of the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, and Seattle Kraken road trip.
Would it be overly optimistic to expect to see everyone but Pettersson back by Saturday night? I guess we’ll find out during roll call over the next three mornings.
The Canucks have had one road game and five home games postponed, including the one last night with the New York Islanders.
There are thirteen games on the NHL calendar for Thursday evening, two of them have been postponed already, both involving Canadian teams. Friday has just two games scheduled, while Saturday marks a full slate of fifteen matches. Three of them, all Canada-based home games, have already been wiped out. Maybe Canucks fans should consider themselves lucky, even if only 50-percent of the crowd is allowed in.