UPDATE (4/4/21, 12:24 E.T.): Initial reports of 14 positive tests within the Canucks organization have swelled to more than 20 confirmed infections among the team’s roster and coaching staff, according to TSN’s Darren Dredger:
Remember how well things went with the NHL bubble last summer, and how part of the success story was that the league went to Canada and avoided the out-of-control spiral of the pandemic in the United States?
Not that things are particularly great south of the border, but the crisis spot for the NHL now is Vancouver, where the Canucks now have 14 players on the COVID-19 protocol list and are up to four games postponed — with their next game scheduled for Thursday, and it seems nonsensical to believe that Vancouver will have enough healthy and/or cleared players by then.
Hockey already is a breeding ground for communicable disease thanks to the cold, damp air at ice level and the heavy breathing and sweating that players do, so it’s all the more concerning that The Province reported “several COVID-19 cases affecting the NHL club have been identified as the P.1 variant first found in Brazil.” That strain is not only more transmissible, but possibly more dangerous and can be contracted even if someone has previously had COVID-19.
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That’s why it seems ridiculous to suggest, with players still being added to the COVID list on Saturday, that it would be possible to have the Canucks and Flames skate on Thursday. If you were Calgary, would you feel safe getting on the ice with those guys?