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The Canucks open Phase 2 workouts with Troy Stecher & Chris Tanev

June 30, 2020, 2:19 PM ET [282 Comments]
Carol Schram
Vancouver Canucks Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Rogers Arena is active again. There's ice!

No more 50th season logo at centre ice, I notice...

And there's players. Tuesday marked the Canucks' first Phase 2 session, with the local guys first to hit the ice:

I would assume that Alex Edler, who also stayed in Vancouver, is defenseman No. 3.

Beyond that, I haven't seen any new travel updates from players heading back into town. It appears that newly married Adam Gaudette has no problem spending his quarantine time on Twitch playing Call of Duty before he's allowed to lace up his skates.

We've also had an update on new dad Bo Horvat, whose wife Holly gave birth to their son Gunnar via a scheduled C-section, three weeks before her original due date.

According to Ben Kuzma of The Province, Holly's scheduled to leave the hospital on Wednesday. Bo has been staying in the room and can't return if he leaves due to coronavirus safety measures.

Kuzma says that players returning to Vancouver on a commercial flight from another part of Canada will need to quarantine for eight days, so Horvat can spend a couple more days with his family after they head home and still make it for the July 10 beginning of mandatory training camp.

...assuming that happens...

Wednesday is July 1, which would normally be the beginning of the NHL's new calendar year.

There was talk last week that players' contract expiry dates have been bumped back to October 30, to solve the problem of extending their work visas if they're playing in their non-native country. But both Larry Brooks and Bob McKenzie are saying that some immediate details need to be handled regarding the year-end, on top of the bigger CBA negotiations.

Those July 1 bonuses are a big hurdle β€” and there are even more bonuses than usual this year, because the 2020-21 season was the year that players and their agents were front-loading their money in an effort to avoid the impact of a potential lockout. Remember that??

As far as hub city candidates go, word is that the massive uptick in positive Covid-19 tests in the Los Angeles area has eliminated L.A. as an option.

I can't help but wonder if the grim data coming out of Nevada over the last week is also delaying an announcement β€”Β or giving the league second thoughts about Vegas.

On Monday, the league announced 15 cases so far through its own testing program, and said it knows of another 11 players who have tested positive outside of Phase 2 environments.

Those numbers seem scary at first, but actually aren't so bad.

Patrick Johnston from The Province spoke with Dr. Zachary Binney on Monday β€” the epidemiologist who I mentioned gave such an informative interview on sports and coronavirus on the "31 Thoughts" podcast a couple of weeks ago.

Binney pointed out that of those 15 positive tests, 11 of those came early on β€”Β and even that is β€œa good baseline,” in his words.

β€œThe NBA found very similar results,” he said.

β€œIn the second (window) we saw four additional cases,” he continued. β€œThat’s great. That’s exactly what I would expect if the protocols were being followed as intended.”

There's more detail in the story about Binney's interpretation of the overall testing results β€” and a warning that if a large number of those cases are clustered on one or two teams, we might be dealing with a bigger issue. But overall, the article is more optimistic than I expected, especially given the general feeling that a lot of jurisdictions are starting to talk about putting the brakes on their re-opening plans.

But just to make sure you're left utterly befuddled for the next couple of days, here's a tweet thread from Montreal Sportsnet reporter Eric Engels, on the thoughts of a group of anonymous players. The thread shows the wide disparity in their views of what will happen from here...

As I've said many times, there's bound to be disparity on how different players in different situations view the return-to-play plan. And within those different groups, there are players who have immersed themselves in the negotiations, and others who have taken a more hands-off approach.

My understanding is that players who wanted to be more informed were welcome to join in on P.A. calls whenever they wanted. A guy like Jason Spezza, who has been active on the Players' Association conference calls, sounds well-informed and reasonably confident about where things go from here.

As far as wanting more answers β€” don't we all? I'm not so sure that the players are being kept in the dark as much as a lot of the information they're craving simply isn't available. This is still an uncertain situation and we're working our way through uncharted waters.

Canada Day won't feature our usual Free Agent Frenzy, but could deliver some interesting news. Since I won't have to get up at 6 a.m. to follow the signings, I'll definitely make a point of celebrating our nation and especially our province on Wednesday!
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