Vancouver Canucks Return Healthy? Key NHL Stretch Begins
Vancouver Canucks players and coaches that scooted out of town over the NHL All-Star break will be filtering back into the city over the course of today and this evening. The team will gather for practice Monday morning in preparation for a three-game homestand featuring visits from the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday, the New York Islanders on Wednesday, and the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.
It’s expected that for the first time since early December the roster will meet up for a sustained period of time completely free of Covid protocols. We’ll also discover if defenceman Tucker Poolman is back on the ice. He felt ill and left the January 27th game in Winnipeg after the first period and hasn’t played since.
Will there be a Travis Hamonic sighting? The Canucks defenceman hasn’t played since the second period of the home game against the Boston Bruins on December 8th when he suffered an apparent lower body injury on a hit by Bruins forward Brad Marchand.
Canucks D-man Kyle Burroughs was placed on injured reserve February 2nd. He last played on January 23rd at Rogers Arena against the St. Louis Blues.
All three of the aforementioned Vancouver defencemen are right-shots. Not a happy time for an area of the roster that seemed to lack depth even before the season started.
Vancouver Canucks Head Coach Bruce Boudreau has mentioned a few times how annoying the Covid stops and starts have been. He’s justified with his frustrations. Here’s a slice …
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Tanner Pearson came off protocols just in time to play last week in the game against the Nashville Predators on February 1st. Three days earlier, Bo Horvat stepped out of protocols on January 29th. The Canucks captain tested positive for Covid during the team’s five-day eastern US road trip in mid-January.
Three more players, goalies Thatcher Demko and Jaroslav Halak and forward Conor Garland exited protocols on January 27th. The latter two entered protocol during that same trip while Demko did so just after the team returned home.
The day Pearson went into protocol, January 25th, it was officially announced that JT Miller had been removed from Covid non-roster status.
Two days prior to that, while scrambling to figure out who was playing goal for the Canucks and who would be backing up, the team announced that assistant coaches Scott Walker and Kyle Gustafson had been placed in the NHL’s Covid-19 Protocol. Walker turned out having a false-positive and returned a couple of days later.
On January 22nd, taxi squad D-man Ashton Sautner was removed from Covid non-roster status.
Miller and Demko entered protocols on January 20th, two days after Horvat on the 18th, one day after forward Justin Dowling had been removed.
Two days prior to that on the 16th, Garland entered protocol, one day after Halak went in and three days after forward Phil Di Giuseppe came off protocol and was assigned to Abbotsford. That was a day after Sautner entered.
January 7th, Alex Chiasson found himself in Covid-19 protocol, two days after Elias Pettersson went in and six days after Jason Dickinson did the same.
Dowling went into protocol on December 30th, one day after Brock Boeser and Di Giuseppe went in while on the Canucks visit to southern California. Those two would be stuck in protocol well into 2022. Because of schedule postponements and his own quarantine requirements, Boeser didn’t play an NHL game between December 16th and January 11th.
On December 18th the NHL released: The National Hockey League announced today due to a number of Toronto and Vancouver players entering COVID protocol over the past two days, today’s Toronto-Vancouver game and tomorrow’s Arizona-Vancouver games have been postponed.
Canucks defenceman Tyler Myers entered protocol on December 18th, a day after the team announced fellow D-men Tucker Poolman, Luke Schenn, Brad Hunt, forward Juho Lammikko and assistant coach Jason King would ‘remain’ in protocol. Poolman tested positive and was pulled out of the December 14th home game against the Columbus Blue Jackets after the first period. Hunt, Schenn and Lammikko tested positive earlier the same day.
On December 10th, a press conference is scheduled to announce the arrival of new Vancouver Canucks President of Hockey Operations Jim Rutherford.
On December 6th, Boudreau coached his first game with the Canucks, a 4-0 win at Rogers Arena over the Los Angeles Kings.
Almost every Canucks player who sat through required protocols did so without any Covid symptoms.
After initial tests upon return to NHL facilities on Monday, asymptomatic players and staff will no longer be required to undergo daily testing. Cross border travel testing will continue but players can apparently receive and submit negative tests up to 72-hours prior to border crossings.