NHL alters North Division schedule as Canucks recover from COVID-19 outbreak

NHL alters North Division schedule as Canucks recover from COVID-19 outbreak
Courtesy of CBC

The NHL has shuffled the North Division schedule to allow the Vancouver Canucks more time to work their way back from a COVID-19 outbreak.

The league announced Friday that a pair of games between Vancouver and the Toronto Maple Leafs scheduled for Saturday and Monday will now be played Sunday and Tuesday.

The moves had a cascading effect throughout the North Division, with 11 other games being moved, impacting six of the league’s seven Canadian teams. Start times were also changed for two other games.

The North Division will now wrap its regular season on May 19.

The Canucks have had 11 games postponed since a COVID-19 outbreak swept through the team late last month.

At least 21 players and four members of the coaching staff have tested positive for the virus.

Canucks general manager Jim Benning said Thursday that several players had not yet received the medical clearance necessary to return to the ice.

“As of [Thursday], certain players have passed evaluation however many are not yet cleared and extra recovery time is required. Our medical staff are confident the recovery process for those players will be aided by an additional couple of days,” Benning said in a statement yesterday.

The postponement and rescheduling also comes on the heels of Canucks forward, J.T. Miller, suggesting that he didn’t think a return to the ice at this time was safe.

“It’s going to be tough for them to bounce back this quickly and tried to play,” Miller said of his teammates who had tested positive for COVID-19.

Miller also emphasized that the players’ health was the priority at this point in time.

The Canucks sit in sixth place in the North Division standings, currently outside of the Stanley Cup Playoffs picture.

With files to Canadian Press.

Graham CoxGraham Cox

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