A tweet from the mother of a player from the Vancouver Canucks who has tested positive . . .
If you are in management with a junior hockey team that is playing games these days, you have to be holding your breath. . . .
The NHL’s Vancouver Canucks are in dire straits. . . . When we went to bed on Friday, the Canucks had seven roster players on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list. As well, one player off their taxi squad had tested positive, as had one coach.
About 24 hours later, the count was 14 roster players on the COVID-19 list, meaning they had tested positive or were deemed a high-risk close contact, along with the taxi squad player, and now three coaches who have been reported as being positive.
A number of the positive tests have been reported to involve the P.1 variant that is more easily transmissible and more vicious than the original virus.
Roster players added to the list on Saturday were F Travis Boyd, G Thatcher Demko, F Jayce Hawyrluk, F Bo Horvat, F Tyler Motte, D Tyler Myers and F Brandon Sutter.
They joined F Adam Gaudette, D Travis Hamonic, D Alex Edler, F Zack MacEwen, G Braden Holtby, D Quinn Hughes and F Antoine Roussel on the list.
Postmedia confirmed that Hawryluk has tested positive for the second time. He had tested positive while with the Ottawa Senators in March.
Emily Kaplan of ESPN reported Saturday that “one source told ESPN that ‘there are some players in rough shape tonight.’ ”
Pierre LeBrun of TSN reported that the number of Canucks on the protocol list “is likely to grow.” He also reported that the NHL “is now proceeding on the assumption that essentially the whole Canucks team will likely test positive.”
Meanwhile, the QMJHL now has five teams in mandatory isolation, having shut down the Gatineau Olympiques, Quebec Remparts, Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, Baie-Comeau Drakkar and Rimouski Oceanic on Saturday. The Olympiques and Remparts each recorded a positive test. Both teams played against the other three teams in recent days, so they were put into isolation, too. The Sherbrooke Phoenix were shut down earlier in the week, but were given the OK to return to team activities on Friday after all players and staff tested negative. . . . Having put five teams into isolation, the QMJHL announced that it has delayed the start of its playoffs. Its Quebec-based teams completed their regular seasons on Friday and were to begin playoffs on Thursday. The teams in the Maritimes are scheduled to continue with regular-season games through May 1 and begin playoffs on May 4. . . .
The AJHL shut down the Okotoks Oilers on Friday, as they became the fourth team in the league to be put into that position. The Drayton Valley Thunder, Grande Prairie Storm and Whitecourt Wolverines, who had been playing in one cohort, went into isolation earlier in the week. . . .
And, of course, the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets have experienced seven positive tests — four players and three staff members — and are in the early days of their 14-day isolation period.
What we haven’t heard from any of the 10 junior teams that now are on hold is whether any of the positive tests involved variants.
As Thomas Drance of The Athletic pointed out: “P.1 variant is a whole new beast . . . It’s here, spreading and even tough on pro athletes . . . P.1 ripped through a workplace with strict protocols, a huge PPE budget and daily testing in days.”
If there’s one thing we should have learned over the past year it’s that this virus — and now the variants — travel really well. And It would appear that P.1 is on its way east.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer, tweeted Saturday afternoon that “we are currently investigating a significant outbreak in Alberta involving P.1 variants of concern (the variant that originated in Brazil) . . . Health officials are working hard to limit the future spread and reaching out directly to those at risk of exposure.”
Unfortunately, Alberta officials didn’t offer up any other details, it being the weekend and all that.
But if you’re in management with a junior hockey team surely you are wondering if your team should even be playing.
Micaela Gaudette, the wife of Vancouver Canucks’ forward Adam Gaudette, tried to enlighten the Twitterverse on the state of affairs in her household on Thursday with this:
“I’ve been feeling fine other than being tired and I just woke up with a bad headache. My hubby isn’t in great shape but I’m taking good care of him! Thank you to all that have said kind things to us during this time.”
Of course, the mouth-breathers on social media chimed in, too, resulting in Micaela later tweeting this:
“People on Twitter are ruthless. A human being gets sick with a virus we don’t know much about and (ya’ll) are angry at him because you can’t watch a game on TV?”
If you hadn’t already figured it out, it’s true that social media really knows no shame.
The MLB season began on Thursday. Thankfully. No more watching the Boston Bruins on Sportsnet, which means no more having to listen to the inanity that is Jack Edwards and his sidekick, the Brick. . . . No, we couldn’t watch the Edmonton Oilers play the Canadiens in Montreal on Thursday, but the Whiner and the Brick were on four Sportsnet channels.
On the subject of MLB, it might be that the best thing I discovered this spring was the Philadelphia Phillies because of Ruben Amaro Jr. The team’s former general manager now is part of its TV crew. He was the analyst on a Grapefruit League game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Phillies and he was terrific. Unlike some team broadcasters, it was evident that he had done his research on the other guys, too, something that turned it into an enjoyable watching/listening experience. Unfortunately, he doesn’t supply analysis on every telecast.
Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle: “New idea nominated for instant oblivion: Farhan Zaidi’s support for the concept of making all MLB games seven innings. The Giants’ president of baseball operations pitched the idea in an interview on KNBR. That’s the worst solution to a problem since the bleach ‘cure’ for coronavirus.”
Two headlines that stood out to Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times . . .
At TheOnion.com: Nelson Agholor signs 2-year, 23-drop contract with Patriots.
At Fark.com: NFL owners approve increased profits for NFL owners.
There were seven games in the WHL’s developmental season on Saturday. Some highlights . . .
The Edmonton Oil Kings scored the last five goals in beating the visiting Red Deer Rebels, 5-1. . . . The Oil Kings (10-1-0) had won 9-2 in Red Deer on Friday night. . . . The Rebels (2-7-2) have lost four in a row. . . . Edmonton D Logan Dowhaniuk, who had a six-point outing on Friday, had one assist. His six points tied a club record for most points in a game — F Jordan Hickmott had three goals and three assists in a 9-3 victory over the visiting Regina Pats on Dec. 13, 2010. . . . On Saturday, F Liam Keeler had a goal, his third, and two assists. . . .
The Winnipeg Ice scored the game’s first three goals en route to a 5-2 victory over the Pats in Regina. . . . F Jakin Smallwood’s ninth goal of the season gave the Ice (8-4-0) a 3-0 lead at 18:49 of the second period. . . . F Carson Denomie got No. 11 for the Pats (4-6-2), who got two more assists from F Connor Bedard, both via the PP. . . .
F Brett Kemp scored at 4:43 of OT to give the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers a 6-5 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Kemp, who has seven goals, scored twice for the Tigers (9-3-0) as they won their fifth straight. . . . The Hitmen now are 5-6-2. . . . F Adam Kidd (4) scored twice for Calgary. . . . Each team scored three times in the first period and twice in the third. . . .
D Luke Zazula’s first goal of the season, just 18 seconds into OT, gave the host Tri-City Americans a 3-2 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . F Samuel Huo, who drew the primary assist on the winner, also had goal, his fifth, for the Americans (3-4-0). He scored while shorthanded. . . . The Chiefs are 0-4-2. . . .
In Everett, the Silvertips opened up a 3-0 lead en route to a 4-1 victory over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . D Olen Zellweger scored his second goal, added an assist and was plus-4 for the Silvertips (7-1-0). . . . D Jackson Berezowski (2) had a goal and two assists for the winners, who got 33 stops from G Dustin Wolf, who is 6-1-0, 0.71, .975. . . . Portland (4-2-2) had won its previous two games. . . .
F Ozzy Wiesblatt had three assists to help the Prince Albert Raiders end a three-game losing streak with a 4-2 victory over the Swift Current Broncos in Regina. . . . The Raiders improved to 4-6-2 with what was the 549th regular-season victory of head coach Marc Habscheid’s WHL career. That moved him into sole possession of sixth place on the league’s all-time list, one ahead of Ernie (Punch) McLean. Mike Williamson is fifth on that list, at 572. . . . F Justin Nachbaur added a goal, his third, and two assists for the Raiders. . . . The Broncos slipped to 3-8-1. . . .
The Kamloops Blazers outshot the Victoria Royals 52-19 but had to go to OT to post a 4-3 victory in Kelowna. . . . The Blazers (4-0-0) are the only one of the WHL’s 22 teams not to have lost in regulation time. . . . The Royals (0-3-1) are one of two teams — Spokane is the other — with a regulation-time victory. . . . G Adam Evanoff stopped 48 shots for the Royals, who were outshot 23-3 in the third period. . . . F Logan Stankoven, back in the Blazers’ lineup after a one-game absence with an undisclosed injury, had two goals and two assists. He notched the winner at 1:39 on the only shot of OT. . . . Stankoven has five goals and three assists in three games. . . . F Orin Centazzo (1) had a goal and two assists for Kamloops. . . . F Brayden Schuurman scored his first two career goals for Victoria.
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