Lalji: Unless local health authorities get involved, Canucks should still play April 16
VANCOUVER — The Vancouver Canucks' anticipated return to work has been delayed at least another day.
The NHL announced Sunday that due to an additional Canucks player being in the league's COVID-19 protocols, the team's practice facilities will not open until Monday at the earliest.
Canucks centre Jay Beagle was added to the NHL's COVID-19 protocol list on Sunday.
The league said he had not been around the team since March 31, but the league's medical staff, plus staffs of the NHL Players' Association and the team determined "that the prudent decision was to keep the facilities closed for an additional day," the NHL said in a release.
The decision isn't expected to impact the Canucks' first game back on Friday, when the Edmonton Oilers are scheduled to visit.
Twenty-five people, including 21 players and four members of the coaching staff, have tested positive for the virus during the outbreak.
While Beagle was added to the NHL's protocol list, Adam Gaudette - who was the first Canuck on it - has been removed, leaving 19 Vancouver players on the list. Only players on the active roster are on the list.
A player does not have to register a positive COVID-19 test to be on the list. Being a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case or a mandated travel quarantine, for example, could put a player on the list.
The Canucks said in a tweet Saturday that players would return to training and limited individual practices on Sunday, with a full group practice scheduled for Wednesday.
The outbreak saw eight Canucks games postponed between March 31 and April 14.
Vancouver GM Jim Benning said Friday that the ill players were feeling better, and are "on the other side of it."
"We still have family members that are getting sick and I think the players worry about that," the GM said.
The Canucks' overhauled schedule now has them set to end the season on May 16, meaning a gruelling final stretch that will see them play 19 games in 30 days including six sets of back-to-backs.