The Vancouver Canucks haven't played since March 24 due to the worst COVID-19 outbreak, to date, of the NHL season and won't be returning to action on Friday.
According to multiple reports, Friday's game between Vancouver and the Edmonton Oilers has been postponed due to Canucks players lacking adequate fitness to return to competitive play and some reportedly still dealing with lingering impacts of COVID-19 bouts.
The status of Saturday's showdown between Vancouver and the Toronto Maple Leafs is up in the air.
Oilers/Canucks — originally scheduled for tomorrow night — will be postponed. Not sure yet about Maple Leafs/Canucks on Saturday.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) April 15, 2021
The Athletic's Thomas Drance tweeted the Canucks don't expect to play until Sunday at the earliest.
Can’t confirm @FriedgeHNIC’s report, but an NHL source indicates: “Looks like the games will move”.— Thomas Drance (@ThomasDrance) April 15, 2021
Team sources with TOR/VAN don’t appear to have confirmation.#Canucks players expecting to play Sunday and Monday, with an extra 48 hours - and 2 on-ice sessions - to get ready.
Earlier in the day, ESPN's Emily Kaplan reported some Vancouver players were set to undergo medical evaluations and cardiac screenings ahead of the NHL and NHL Players' Association making a final decision on Friday's matchup. On Wednesday, Canucks forward J.T. Miller spoke openly with reporters and said he felt the league was rushing the team back into action and that doing so was "dangerous" for the active Vancouver players.
Before this latest development, the NHL planned to have Vancouver play 19 times in 31 days to complete a full 56-game schedule. The league had already pushed the NHL North division's final regular-season day back from May 8 to May 16, and it's unclear what this latest postponement means for that calendar.
At least 25 people associated with the Canucks tested positive for COVID-19 amid the outbreak, and many players experienced symptoms such as fevers, body aches, dehydration and fatigue. One player required an IV at his home.