Uh oh. Our old pal John Shannon first reported that Quinn Hughes of the Vancouver Canucks had joined his brother Jack Hughes of the New Jersey Devils in Covid protocol. The team since confirmed it. Did Quinn join Jack for the little All-Star party in Vegas? Doesn’t matter. What does matter is where and when “Huggy” tested positive and how soon he’ll be back.
The Canucks maybe survive the Arizona Coyotes without him and maaaaybe the New York Islanders, but forget it against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. One can only play so long without one’s number-one defenseman, especially on a corps that’s not that deep and is already missing two or three righties. Hughes is a left-shot, Kyle Burroughs (IR), Tucker Poolman (ill – back today?), and Travis Hamonic (out since December 8th) are all right-shots.
The Covid circus isn’t over. Shame on me for jinxing it.
Hughes is the Canucks minute muncher, their power play quarterback, the outlet-passer extraordinaire, and he’s only 22-years-old. He has the same number of points this season, 34, as fellow defencemen Tyler Myers, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Luke Schenn, and Brad Hunt combined.
This was not the news the club was looking for as it begins its slow, desperate push for a potential playoff spot through the February doldrums into the March stretch drive.
The team practices today at 3 pm and hosts the Coyotes Tuesday night. A back-to-back home set features the Islanders on Wednesday. The Maple Leafs come calling on Saturday.
If you’re wondering what happened to no more non-asymptomatic NHL testing, well, that policy begins after the initial tests given as players arrive back from the All-Star break. So Quinn was exposed. If there’s any chance he was tested Sunday instead of Monday morning he could easily clear five days in time for Saturday’s match. If the test was taken early Monday morning, it might make things a bit more dicey.
It sounds like with “defenceman Quinn Hughes has been placed into the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol” that we’re past the likelihood of a false-positive.
Now it’s just a matter of when the Vancouver Canucks can manoeuvre Hughes back into the line-up.