The Vancouver Canucks' COVID-19 issues continue to grow as five players were added to the NHL's COVID-19 protocols on Friday, bringing the total number of players from the team on the list to seven. One coach has also been added to the list.
Defencemen Alexander Edler and Quinn Hughes, forwards Zack MacEwen and Antoine Roussel, and goaltender Braden Holtby were the latest players who entered the league's protocols, joining Adam Gaudette and Travis Hamonic, who entered them earlier this week. The coach has not been publicly identified at this time.
Vancouver's current COVID-19 outbreak, the largest for a Canadian team at one time so far this season, led to the team having four games postponed by the NHL.
The Montreal Canadiens were the first North Division team to have their season paused by the novel coronavirus. Two Canadiens players, Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Joel Armia, were added to the league's COVID Protocol List on March 23, which prompted the league to postpone four of the team's games. Montreal was able to return to practice on March 29.
Following these latest postponements to the Canucks' schedule, eight games in the North Division have now been postponed this season, all since March 22.
A total of 50 games have been postponed league-wide since the NHL season began in January, with 45 of those postponements stemming from health-and-safety protocols. The other five were due to weather-related issues.
In light of the postponements, the NHL regular-season schedule was extended and is currently set to conclude on May 11, as opposed to the original end date of May 8.
The Canucks are next scheduled to play on April 8 against the Calgary Flames. Vancouver cannot return to practice before April 6. Dates for their rescheduled games have not yet been announced.