NHL hopes Canucks can return 'by the end of next week'
The Vancouver bench celebrates a goal. Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

NHL hopes Canucks can return 'by the end of next week'

Earlier on Thursday, TSN hockey insider Darren Dreger reported that the Vancouver Canucks had no new positive COVID-19 cases for the first time since they were sidelined by the NHL's largest coronavirus outbreak of the season. 

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly has now told ESPN's Emily Kaplan that the league hopes Vancouver will be able to resume the campaign "by the end of next week." 

The Canucks haven't played since a loss to the Winnipeg Jets on March 24 and have had 18 active players, three players from the taxi squad and four staff members test positive for COVID-19. Kaplan reports that some players were symptomatic, and at least one required an IV last weekend. 

According to the club's official calendar, Vancouver remains scheduled to play at the Edmonton Oilers on Monday evening. It's widely believed that matchup and also Wednesday's contest at Edmonton will be rescheduled. 

All Canucks personnel who have tested positive are quarantining, and some are isolating away from family members. Players must be cleared by a team doctor and cardiologist to return from the NHL's COVID-19 protocols list. 

Vancouver is fifth in the NHL North standings and trails the Montreal Canadiens by eight points in the race for the division's last available postseason berth. When speaking with ESPN, Daly reiterated his previous statement that the Canucks should somehow be able to complete their full 56-game regular-season schedule. 

Zac Wassink is a football and futbol aficionado who is a PFWA member and is probably yelling about Tottenham Hotspur at the moment. Erik Lamela and Eli Manning apologist. Chanted for Matt Harvey to start the ninth inning of Game 5 of the 2015 World Series at Citi Field. Whoops. You can find him on Twitter at @ZacWassink

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