The NHL says it stays hopeful the Vancouver Canucks can full a 56-game schedule although 25 members of the group have examined constructive for a variant type of COVID-19, however some consultants query if that’s doable.
The Canucks launched a press release Wednesday saying 21 gamers, together with three on the taxi squad plus 4 employees members, “have examined constructive and the supply an infection is confirmed a variant.” Which variant has not been confirmed.
On Tuesday, when the Canucks had 18 gamers on the COVID-19 protocol listing, an NHL spokesman stated “a 56-game season continues to be the main focus,” however if mandatory the league has some flexibility on scheduling the opening of the playoffs. Requested Wednesday if something had modified following the Canucks’ announcement, the spokesman stated, “my reply is identical because it was yesterday.”
An NHL agent stated he had heard nothing about any plans to cancel video games.
Dr. Zain Chagla, an infectious illness doctor for St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton, Ont., stated research have proven individuals affected by the completely different variants “will get well on tempo,” however relying on the severity of the virus — skilled gamers might have additional time to regain their conditioning.
“They could be out of quarantine in 10 days, however loads of gamers might not return after they’re thought of clear,” he stated. “They could really need just a few weeks to get again to hockey regular.”
WATCH | Vancouver Canucks sidelined by COVID-19:
The Canucks’ state of affairs is sophisticated as a result of so many gamers have contracted the virus.
“When you have an outbreak of 5 – 6 [players] you’ll be able to fill within the gaps, you’ll be able to await a few of your gamers to situation correctly,” he stated. “At 21 gamers, that is 21 completely different gamers that have to situation correctly, that is 21 gamers that have to get again into form, recover from their COVID and heal.”
Recovering from the virus is completely different than rehabbing from a sports activities harm.
“[A] lot of those guys, it seems like, have been in mattress at dwelling,” Chagla stated. “You are shedding muscle mass; you are shedding that elite form.”
When the primary Canuck participant examined constructive for COVID final week, Vancouver’s subsequent 4 video games have been postponed. The Canucks have been scheduled to return to play Thursday in Calgary in opposition to the Flames. The Canucks’ web site now says that sport and one other Saturday in Calgary have been postponed.
The NHL season was initially scheduled to finish Might 8 however has already been prolonged to Might 11 to permit for beforehand postponed video games.
The Canucks have 19 common season video games remaining.
The price of doing enterprise
Corey Hirsch, a former NHL goaltender who’s now a member of the Canucks’ radio broadcast group, worries in regards to the bodily pressure pressured on gamers if they’re anticipated to play their remaining video games in a condensed time frame after overcoming the virus.
“You’re speaking about the entire group,” he stated. “You are not solely speaking about one man. My query could be if they’re susceptible to harm due to the bodily form they’re in.”
Moshe Lander, a senior lecturer within the economics of sports activities, gaming and playing at Concordia College, stated the Canucks COVID state of affairs is a results of the NHL “not effervescent up for a season.”
“The NHL has accepted that is the price of doing enterprise.”
Final yr’s playoffs, which included a play-in spherical, started Aug. 1 and ended Sept. 28.
Lander predicts Vancouver would possibly solely play 50 video games, which can influence different groups within the NHL’s North Division.
“An entire bunch of Canuck video games are going to be cancelled, not going to be made up,” he stated. “You are cancelling video games in opposition to the Oilers, or the Canadiens, or [other teams] which can be playoff sure so their rating system goes to be disrupted.
“The NHL has protocols in place to find out tiebreakers. I am assuming it is simply going to be greatest successful proportion. All people has performed sufficient video games at this level that you’ve got an inexpensive sufficient pattern dimension to know who [the playoff teams] are.”
Even earlier than the virus struck, Vancouver confronted an uphill battle to make the playoffs.
Heading into Wednesday evening, the Canucks (16-18-3) trailed Montreal by eight factors for the ultimate playoff spot within the North Division.