Thatcher Demko and J.T. Miller test positive for COVID-19 as the Vancouver Canucks get set to play NHL's top offence
The Vancouver Canucks have confirmed that all-star goaltender Thatcher Demko and top scorer J.T. Miller have tested positive for COVID-19 today (January 20).
The confirmation came from head coach Bruce Boudreau during a news conference earlier this afternoon after the two players were absent from a morning practise session.
"They weren't here for practise," Boudreau told reporters. "They had a positive test this morning, but we're hoping the next test will be negative."
The positive results came from rapid tests Thursday morning, and the team is awaiting confirmation from follow-up PCR tests.
Those results are expected to be available later today.
If the postive COVID-19 result is confirmed, Demko and Thatcher would join captain Bo Horvat, right winger Conor Garland, and backup goaltender Jaroslav Halak, all of whom tested positive for COVID-19 during a recent five-game road trip through the U.S.
The Canucks are scheduled to play the Florida Panthers at home on Friday (January 21) to kick off a three-gane home stand. The game has not been postponed by the NHL, as have the seven previous home games. The Canucks' last home game was on December 14, 2021.
The Florida game will be played at a half-capacity Rogers Arena. If Demko and Miller are confirmed COVID-positive before the Florida game, that would leave the Canuckes without their top goalie and three of their top four scorers in Miller (with a team-best 39 points in 39 games), Horvat, and the feisty Garland.
"If you play a really good game and you play the right way and you get good goaltending, then, you know, you've got a chance to win," Boudreau told reporters about how he felt about potentially missing so many key players against Florida.