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NHL extends regular season to May 19

The Canucks are now expected to return from a coronavirus outbreak Sunday, while the Avalanche have three games postponed for virus issues.
The NHL has extend its regular season to May 19 as more games are rescheduled because of coronavirus outbreaks and it tries to get every team to play a full 56-game regular season.
The NHL has extend its regular season to May 19 as more games are rescheduled because of coronavirus outbreaks and it tries to get every team to play a full 56-game regular season. [ MINAS PANAGIOTAKIS | Getty Images North America ]
Published Apr. 16
Updated Apr. 17

The Canucks on Friday were scheduled to resume play from their coronavirus outbreak Sunday, while the Avalanche had three games postponed because three of their players were on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list.

The Canucks previously had been scheduled to return at home against the Oilers on Friday, but their return was delayed Thursday after, the NHL said, medical officials from the Vancouver area, the team and the players association were consulted.

Related: Lightning expect Steven Stamkos to return before regular season ends

That delay was announced a day after forward J.T. Miller said during a virtual media session that it would be “very challenging and not very safe” to play Friday because the team had not played since March 24 and had not had enough time to recover and get back in shape.

Vancouver is to play Toronto on Sunday following a virus outbreak in which 22 players and four coaches tested positive. It has had 11 games postponed. All have been rescheduled, with the NHL extending the regular season for the all-Canadian North Division to May 19.

The NHL’s 56-game regular season was originally scheduled to end May 8 and previously had been extended to May 11 and then May 16 as games were called off and rescheduled because of virus outbreaks. The NHL still intends for each team to play a full schedule. The Canucks are now scheduled to play 19 games in 32 days to finish a 56-game regular season.

Related: How did Lightning’s opponents fare at NHL trade deadline?

The Canucks practiced for the second straight day Friday. They practiced Thursday for the first time since their season was put on hold. Vancouver had two players on the COVID-19 protocol list Friday, down from three Thursday, seven Wednesday and 16 Tuesday.

The Avalanche were shut down as forward Joonas Donskoi joined goalie Philipp Grubauer and defenseman Bowen Byram on the protocol list. Grubauer was placed on the list Wednesday and will be out at least two weeks, coach Jared Bednar has said.

Colorado’s games were postponed through Tuesday. The NHL targeted Wednesday for the Avalanche to be able to return to practice.

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