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As the Canucks continue to add Covid cases, family impact is also a concern

April 7, 2021, 1:47 PM ET [661 Comments]
Carol Schram
Vancouver Canucks Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
We're now into Week 2 of the Vancouver Canucks' Covid-19 crisis, and still no closer to learning when the team will be able to get back on the ice.

UPDATE: Shortly after this originally posted on Wednesday, the Canucks issued a statement confirming more details of the outbreak, that the virus at play is a variant, and that the initial source of the outbreak has been identified — and was community spread.

The NHL's last schedule update came on Monday — and while it didn't address the Canucks, it did re-assign Vancouver's scheduled opponent for this Saturday, the Calgary Flames, to a Battle of Alberta game against Edmonton.

On the schedule page at Canucks.com, the Thursday and Saturday road games against the Flames are marked postponed, bringing the total to six missed games. Road games in Edmonton next Monday and Wednesday are still live as of Wednesday morning. But I don't think that means much.

It ain't over yet. Nils Hoglander was added to the protocol list on Monday, Jake Virtanen joined him on Tuesday, and Darren Dreger is reporting that another name will be added when the next list is released on Wednesday afternoon.

The league hasn't said much so far — apparently, wanting to let the virus run its course with no more positive tests for a few days before anything is decided about how to make up games. On Monday deputy commissioner Bill Daly told the Canadian Press that the Canucks' situation is "concerning from a health and safety standpoint, not necessarily from a scheduling standpoint."

At that time, he indicated that he expected the club's 56 games would still be completed. I believe that's important in terms of fulfilling obligations to sponsors, as well as for the integrity of the schedule.

There has been some talk that perhaps one way to accomplish this could be to extend the regular season a bit longer for the North Division only, and start their playoffs later than the three U.S. divisions — presumably, with fingers crossed for short series in Canada that would help reduce the differential as they go along.

It makes sense for the league to take its time on this decision making, especially with case numbers surging not just in B.C. but also in other parts of Canada and even in the U.S., despite their much higher uptake on vaccinations so far.

I'm surprised at how much detail we're hearing about individual players' Covid experiences thus far — mostly through family members, it seems.

Micaela Gaudette's recent Instagram Stories have been a little more innocuous — I think the last one was a picture of a charcuterie board that had been delivered.

But Brandon Sutter's father, Brent, went into quite a bit of detail about what his son is experiencing with Eric Francis from Sportsnet in Calgary.

In Francis' article, Brent said that Brandon was staying in a separate part of his house in order to try to protect his pregnant wife, Gisele, and his two young children.

When he checked in with Don Taylor and Rick Dhaliwal on their new show on Tuesday, he said that Brandon still has symptoms and "they all have it."

Meanwhile, Iain MacIntyre is reporting that Bo Horvat has so far been able to keep from transmitting the virus to his wife Holly and young son Gunnar. But that meant a very lonely birthday on Monday, as he stayed isolated inside his home.

Bo's father, Tim, says his son is on the mend. But dad's going through sleepless nights himself, not just worrying about Bo and his family, but also the rest of the team.

"I really worry about the Sutters, the Roussels, the Myers -- everyone's that got it and has families," he said. "You worry sick for them. I do."

"What's Bo been there, seven years now?” Tim said. “You get to know these guys on a personal level. I know people look at them as professional athletes or whatever. When I see them at the arena... I'm giving them hugs. They're just normal guys that have families, and you just worry sick for them all.

“Bo and Holly and Gunnar, at least they've got each other, thank God. But I feel for the single guys like (Quinn) Hughes and (Brock) Boeser and Petey (Elias Pettersson) and (Nils) Hoglander. I mean, they're on their own. I think of them guys just like I think of my own kid. Honestly, I love them all. It just bothers the hell out of me, praying that they're all going to be okay."

Meanwhile, of course, the clock is ticking down to the trade deadline next Monday. Hard to work up any kind of appetite for speculation, isn't it?
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