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Photo Credit: © Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

Brock Boeser reflects on “frustrating and confusing” COVID-19 quarantine, and the Canucks players still dealing with it

“It’s just frustrating,” said Vancouver Canucks forward Brock Boeser when discussing his lengthy and complicated quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 back on December.

Boeser, along with Phil Di Giuseppe and an unnamed Canucks staff member, were forced to quarantine in Anaheim, and Boeser hasn’t played a game since December 16th, when the Canucks beat the Sharks 5-2.

Boeser scored two goals in that game, his fourth and fifth through the first six games of the Bruce Boudreau era.

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Just as the team was getting set to return from their holiday break with back-to-back games in California against the Ducks and Kings, Boeser tested positive the morning of the 28th — a day before the Canucks’ game against Anaheim.

The team had already touched down in California however, meaning Boeser was forced to quarantine in an Anaheim hotel room.

“You’ve just got to find a routine,” Boeser — who’s quarantined at multiple points already through the pandemic — said of his days in isolation. “Wake up, breakfast, maybe do a little workout — what you can do in there — and then watch a show or take a nap and wait until the boys’ game at night. I was just lucky I was in there for five days where the boys played three nights, so that really helped just kind of buy time until the game’s on. Then it’s nighttime, bedtime, at that point.”

“I got an Xbox delivered to the hotel, so played some golf. Wi-Fi wasn’t great, so I couldn’t play Fortnite but that definitely bought some time,” Boeser said with a laugh.

But for most of his media availability on Monday when he outlined his quarantine, Boeser wasn’t laughing.

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In fact, Boeser seemed a bit annoyed, and it’s hard to blame him.

After spending five days quarantining in Anaheim, Boeser flew back to Vancouver, where he was turned away and sent back to the United States. He headed home to Minnesota to be with family before finally joining the team on Monday in Florida, where he skated in a practice alongside Elias Pettersson and Jason Dickinson, both of whom exited protocol on Monday as well.

Boeser called the debacle “frustrating” and a “miscommunication” between the Canucks and the Canadian federal government.

“There was a lot of miscommunication on what was agreed on and with what actually happened. I quarantined another five days [after the original five in Anaheim] and they still wanted us to quarantine more. I know the other guys [Dowling and Di Giuseppe] are still stuck until Wednesday and I feel really bad for them. It’s just a really crappy scenario.”

Dowling and Di Giuseppe won’t be available to the Canucks Tuesday night as they continue their quarantine.

“It’s just frustrating. We quarantined like we were supposed to,” said Boeser. “I’m not sure exactly who talked to the government and told us we got the okay to just quarantine another five days, so that’s 10 days. Now, the government made them [Dowling, Di Giuseppe] quarantine another 10 (on top of the original five), so that’s 15 days. That’s way too long, especially when quarantines have been reduced to five days for almost everyone. I don’t think that’s really great for them.”

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“I feel terrible for the guys who are still locked up. I know in other years, they [the Canucks and the NHL] worked with the government and figured everything out, and now it’s confusing.”

As mentioned above, Boeser was just starting to heat up when the season came to a halt, and has gone almost 30 days since he last played a game.

Boeser was looking confident, and was finding the results that reflected that confidence.

Despite his layoff, Boeser says his confidence is just as high as it was before.

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“I still have that feeling like I can score any game and that’s a great feeling,” said Boeser. “Even in practice, I still feel like I have that confidence and that swagger again… I’m probably a little out of shape compared to the guys, I know they had a hard week of practice. It just comes down to simplifying my game, having short shifts, and really focusing on shooting the puck and working as hard as I can.”

“I think if I do that I’ll slowly start to feel better and better and hopefully I can continue to contribute to this team and help us win hockey games.”

We’ll have a full game day preview posted around noon today as the Canucks get set to face off against the Panthers. Puck drop is at 4 PM Pacific.