I imagine just about everyone agrees, that even with a perfect schedule the rest of the way the Vancouver Canucks are not going to make the playoffs.

Before COVID-19 struck nearly the entire team, the Canucks had played the most games in the NHL with 37.

That was back on March 24th.

Today (April 16th), more than three weeks later, Vancouver has still played 37 games which are the fewest in the league.

The (16-18-3) Canucks are 10 points behind (18-13-9) Montreal for the 4th and final playoff spot in the North (Canadian) Division with Vancouver holding three games in hand.

There is no race and the entire focus had become about the team having to compete in its last 19 games over a ridiculously short 31-day span.

Fortunately, that won’t be the case, at least until a newly revised schedule comes out today.

The Canucks were asked to host Edmonton tonight but luckily that game was postponed because of several complaints including the much-publicized rant from J.T. Miller.

The 28-year-old Miller, never one to hold back, spoke his mind on Wednesday.

His comments likely represented what most of the players on the team were thinking.

“What we’re being asked to do is not going to be too safe, if you’re asking me,” said Miller during virtual media availability.

“I hope people don’t take this the wrong way, I’m a very competitive guy,” said Miller, one of the few players on the Canucks that did not test positive for COVID-19. “But this isn’t about hockey for our team. This is about the health and safety of our players, their family and their children. This isn’t about making the playoffs.”

“I don’t feel ready if I’m being honest . . . It’s kind of crazy,” Miller added. “I know everyone has a job to do but to expect our entire team to be ready to play in one practice and a pre-game skate is a bit hard to comprehend.”

“Mentally, for me, this hasn’t been the easiest year,” Miller continued. “I’m coming up on 50 days of quarantine just in this past year. It’s been a rough go for a lot of people, and I’ve definitely been thinking about my teammates and their families every day. I feel fortunate that we weren’t as affected as they were.”

There have been media reports that at least one Vancouver player required an IV.

Miller admitted some of his teammates were “struggling to breathe going up and down steps.”

Of the 19 Vancouver games remaining, five are against Edmonton, 4 against Toronto, Ottawa, and Calgary, two against Winnipeg, and none against Montreal.

We all realize the NHL is up against the clock, or calendar if you will, to complete the regular season and move on to playoffs.

Could the league chop 4 games off (I.E. one each against Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa, and Calgary) the Canucks schedule and then go on winning percentage to determine the standings?

Sure it could but I don’t think that will happen when the newly revised schedule is released.

(Update: the Canucks will host Toronto Sunday and Tuesday as they conclude with 19 games in 32 days).

It wasn’t like the standings were going to change much by doing so.

Regardless of the spin it certainly appears that getting 56 games in for each team is the top priority because of money.

Yes, the Canucks have been given a bit of a reprieve, at least for now, but make no mistake about it, health often takes a back seat to the almighty dollar in professional sports.

Taking Note:


Cat Scan:

Long-time NHL defenceman Dan Hamhuis is enjoying the outdoor life after hockey in Smithers. He discusses a wide range of topics in this week’s podcast. Does he miss the spotlight? What message did he send PG Cougars
players in the bubble? The financial implications of the season & keep staff on payroll. Answers in Cat Scan.


FROM THE QUOTE RACK:

The Pittsburgh Pirates surprised a local health care worker with tickets to their home opener. Hasn’t she suffered enough?

*Fark.com

Cleveland has signed Jadeveon Clowney to join Myles Garrett to form a very formidable pass-rushing combo. Meanwhile, Browns fans are ahead of the pace they set two years ago regarding Super Bowl ticket deposit refunds after signing Odell Beckham Jr.

*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

Five members of the Houston Astros have been placed on the injured list “as a result of health & safety protocols. GM James Click said it’s not because players broke COVID-19 protocols, saying “they’re following the rules.” And why should anyone think the Astros would break any rules?

*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com

A fan in Anaheim threw an inflatable trash can onto the field during an Astros-Angels game. Three players on the Houston bench immediately yelled, “Pitch out!”

*Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times http://www.seattletimes.com/author/dwight-perry/


IN CASE, YOU MISSED IT

Thack Moor Hill in England was declared a mountain after surveyors measured it at 610 meters tall instead of 609. So it isn’t just TSN’s Maple Leafs reporters who make mountains out of moor hills.

*Canadian comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com

Hartley Miller is the news and sports supervisor and morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT and Country 97.
He also is the 94.3 the Goat radio colour commentator for P.G. Cougars home games.
His column appears Fridays on myprincegeorgenow.com.
Send along a quote, note, or anecdote to hmiller@thegoatrocks.ca