The Canucks haven’t played since March 24 due to a COVID-19 outbreak, and one player believes what the league is asking them to do in a crammed schedule is “dangerous” to a lot of them.
“What we’re being asked to do is not going to be too safe, if you’re asking me,” J.T. Miller, the former Rangers forward, told reporters on Wednesday. “It’s kind of frustrating, if I’m being honest with you. We try to talk about the No. 1 priority being the players’ health and their families’ safety, and it’s almost impossible to do what they’ve asked us to do here on our return.”
Several of the players who tested positive for the virus were symptomatic. The Canucks returned to practice this week and are scheduled to play Friday against the Oilers with just one full practice. To play a full 56-game schedule, they will need to play 19 games in 31 days.
“It’s kind of crazy,” Miller said. “I know everyone has a job to do, but to expect our entire team to be ready to play in one practice and a pre-game skate is a little bit hard to comprehend.”
One player, speaking on condition of anonymity, told ESPN he doesn’t feel right although doctors have told him he is no longer contagious after contracting the virus. Players have to be cleared by a cardiologist and team doctor before joining their teammates on the ice. Vancouver still has seven players on the COVID-19 protocol list, after nine players were taken off of it on Tuesday. The team had a video conference on Wednesday night with the players association and there is expected to further dialogue on Thursday.
“Mentally, for me, this hasn’t been the easiest year,” Miller said. “I’m coming up on 50 days of quarantine just in this past year. It’s been a rough go for a lot of people, and I’ve definitely been thinking about my teammates and their families every day. I feel fortunate that we weren’t as affected as they were.”
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