Vancouver Canucks players will practice as a team today for the first time in advance of Friday’s home game against the Oilers

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Reports out of Edmonton suggest Friday night’s Vancouver Canucks vs. Oilers game will be postponed.

Eyes and ears have been trained on the Canucks’ team doctors since a Wednesday evening video conference between Canucks players and the NHL Players’ Association.

Hours after Canucks forward J.T. Miller spoke with the media Wednesday and called the schedule his team is now facing following a lengthy layoff due to a COVID-19 outbreak “dangerous,” representatives from the union met with the players and were told of health and safety concerns they had.

Miller’s airing of concerns wasn’t an accident and he wasn’t speaking alone or out of turn, Postmedia has learned.

There are still seven players on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list as of Thursday morning. Several players who have been cleared from the list in the last two days don’t feel ready to play and are taking longer to recover than they had hoped, echoing what Miller said in his earlier statements to the media.

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NEXT GAME

Friday

Edmonton Oilers vs. Vancouver Canucks

6 p.m., Rogers Arena, TV: Sportsnet Pacific, Radio: Sportsnet 650 AM


The Canucks were meant to practise for the first time as a team today, but with a number of player players undergoing additional testing from team doctors, the decision was made to close the practice to media as it was not clear who would be able to take part in the scheduled practice, nor if that practice would even start on time.

The assessments by the team’s physician and cardiologist were to determine if the players are fit to play and the doctors could recommend to the league and the players’ association that modifications be made to the Canucks schedule.

Some, but not all players have been on the ice this week for individual workouts, but the idea of playing back to back, Friday vs. Edmonton and Saturday vs. Toronto, is said to be concerning for a number of Canucks players.

Players like Brandon Sutter and Quinn Hughes have reportedly dealt with serious symptoms and while they may be past the infectious stage of the coronavirus, if they’re dealing with lingering effects it wouldn’t be a surprise as many people have reported feeling long-term effects in the weeks and months post-infection.

Asked about the meeting, PA spokesperson Jonathan Weatherdon told Postmedia: “There will be further discussion tomorrow amongst the medical groups.”

The Edmonton Oilers were slated to fly to Vancouver late Thursday afternoon ahead of their Friday night game but are now not expected to fly, reported Jason Gregor, a host on Edmonton sports radio station TSN 1260.

More to come …

pjohnston@postmedia.com

twitter.com/risingaction


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