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NHL postpones Canucks' weekend games against Leafs and Coyotes after COVID-19 cases

The Canucks have six players and an assistant coach in the NHL's COVID protocol.
A lonely ice machine resurfaces the Rogers Arena ice that won't be used this weekend.

The Vancouver Canucks won't be extending their six-game winning streak on Saturday against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

That's not being pessimistic about their chances against the red-hot Leafs; they won't be ending their winning streak on Saturday either because they won't be playing. 

The Canucks' game against the Leafs on Saturday has been postponed, as has their game against the Arizona Coyotes on Sunday. The postponement comes in the wake of even more Canucks being added to the NHL's COVID protocol.

On Friday, Tyler Motte was added to the COVID protocol, joining Luke Schenn, Juho Lammikko, Brad Hunt, Tucker Poolman, and assistant coach Jason King. 

Poolman's presence on the protocol list was somewhat surprising. He had two negative tests after his initial positive; one more negative and he would be considered a false positive and be able to return to the lineup. Because he was still on the protocol list, that means his third test came back positive.

On Saturday morning, it was announced that Tyler Myers was also entering the NHL's COVID protocol, for a total of six Canucks players and one coach.

With four of those six players being defencemen and Guillaume Brisebois injured, the Canucks scrambled for replacements, calling up Madison Bowey from the Abbotsford Canucks and signing Ashton Sautner, who was previously on an AHL contract. 

That meant the Canucks were potentially playing on Saturday with a defence corps consisting of Quinn Hughes, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Kyle Burroughs, Noah Juulsen, Bowey, and Sautner. Hughes had already seen his ice time creep as high as 28:32 in a recent game; he could have broken 30 minutes against the Leafs.

That won't be tested, however. With so many positive COVID-19 cases from the Canucks, the NHL made the decision to postpone both of their weekend games. Fans have been told to hang onto their tickets.

The Leafs have been dealing with positive COVID-19 cases of their own. John Tavares, Alexander Kerfoot, Jason Spezza and Wayne Simmonds were all placed in COVID protocol on Friday. The Coyotes also have Lawson Crouse, Jay Beagle, and Alex Galchenyuk in COVID protocol.

The NHL has seen dozens of players added to their COVID protocol over the past week. In total, the NHL has 104 players and coaches currently on their COVID protocol list. At least 22 games have been postponed.

The Canucks played two games after their initial positive tests. After Schenn, Lammikko, and Hunt had all been placed in COVID protocol, the Canucks still played their scheduled game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday. Poolman was pulled off the ice in the first period after a positive result was returned from a test done earlier that day.

With no further positive test results on Wednesday, the Canucks traveled to the U.S. and played the San Jose Sharks on Thursday

So far, no members of the Blue Jackets or Sharks have entered the NHL's COVID protocol. Given the incubation period of the virus, however, that may change in the near future.

The Canucks' next scheduled game is on Tuesday in San Jose.

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