Times Standard (Eureka)

Canucks’ COVID a ‘wake-up call’ for SJ

- By Curtis Pashelka

The severe outbreak of COVID-19 cases among the Vancouver Canucks’ players and coaching staff served as a harsh reminder to the San Jose Sharks to remain vigilant in protecting themselves against the deadly disease.

As of Tuesday, the Canucks had 18 players on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list. Two Vancouver taxi squad players and three members of the Canucks coaching staff have also been affected by the outbreak, as the virus spread with frightenin­g efficiency throughout the team’s locker room.

“What I find the scariest about that is how quick that spread,” Sharks coach Bob Boughner said. “You can see in the league, there have been teams that had one guy, two guys, maybe four or five guys (out). But when that hits your whole team and staff and god knows, I’m sure families and everything else, that’s pretty scary.”

The NHL first announced last week that it was halting Canucks team activities, with Thursday as a targeted return to play. Those dates will obviously have to change, although no official updates have come this week from the NHL regarding the Canucks’ schedule.

Sharks players and staff members have had to follow strict Santa Clara County protocols since they were first allowed to return to San Jose in late January after spending all of training camp and the first two weeks of the regular season on the road.

The Sharks’ last regular-season game is scheduled for May 8, with the NHL playoffs to begin later in the month.

There have been multiple reports of players being symptomati­c, although none so far have required hospitaliz­ations. Per Sportsnet in Canada, the Canucks may be dealing with the P-1 variant of the disease, which originated in Brazil and is more contagious.

A rise in local COVID infections due to variant cases is causing alarm among Santa Clara County health officials.

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