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Can Canucks Put Up a Fight vs. Maple Leafs After COVID Scare?

Only four of the seventeen players that were medically tested Thursday were cleared. No wonder the Canucks didn’t play Friday.

While the NHL ultimately decided to hold off on asking the Vancouver Canucks to come back to game action this past Friday against the Edmonton Oilers, reports coming out regarding the health and wellness of a ravaged Canucks team make the fact that Friday was the initial return date baffling.

Sure, not every player tested positive and yes, the Canucks might have been able to call upon some replacement players, but most players weren’t just positive, but quite sick and reports from Elliotte Friedman during the Saturday Headlines, suggest there was no feasible way to expect that the Canucks could have played.

That the NHL even thought Friday was possible is, frankly, nutty.

Related: Canucks’ Elias Pettersson Could Be Done For Season, Plus Contract Talks

Friedman says that that the Canucks held a Zoom call with the NHL Players Association saying they wanted to return to play, but weren’t prepared to do so this past Friday. The team had been shaken to the core by the Brazilian variant of the COVID virus and, in many cases, players were not just sick, but really sick. You could see it in head coach Travis Green’s comments to the media that this was a scary time for the organization.

Friedman went on to say that the initial plan was to see how medical testing on Thursday was going to go. Of the 17 Canucks that were to go through their post-COVID medical testing, only four were cleared as able to play. That’s less than 25% of players who could have returned to the lineup.

Ultimately, it was agreed that even a couple more days would give the team a better opportunity to get healthy and cleared, but what exactly is the NHL expecting out of the game tonight versus the Toronto Maple Leafs? There’s still no Thatcher Demko, Tyler Motte, and Olli Juolevi, while Nate Schmidt and Jake Virtanen remain on the protocol list.

Vancouver Canucks COVID news
Vancouver Canucks COVID news

Schedule vs. Well-Being

If the NHL expects the Canucks to put up much of a fight tonight versus the Leafs, that will be shocking. Clearly, there’s no way this team is back to 100% and if they do win, it will speak more to an inability by the Leafs to pounce on a weakened opponent than it will the Canucks ability to overcome.

It still seems incredible that the NHL was so quick to try and get this Canucks team back on the ice. Hopefully it doesn’t come back to bit the league in the butt.

Next: Getzlaf Was Willing to Be Traded If It Helped Ducks Rebuild

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