The Vancouver Canucks have placed goaltender Thatcher Demko and forward J.T. Miller into COVID protocol, the club announced late Thursday evening.
As you read in our “scenes from Canucks practice” article from earlier Thursday, neither Demko nor Miller were on the ice at practice, as both players took antigen rapid tests Thursday morning that both came back positive.
The hope was that their PCR lab tests would come back negative, but that unfortunately wasn’t the case.
Because both players were already in Canada when they tested positive, they’ll only be unavailable for five days, meaning technically, both can return on Tuesday for the Canucks’ game against the Edmonton Oilers.
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On the ice during Thursday’s practice manning the goal creases were Spencer Martin and Michael DiPietro.
Martin was being deployed as the number one goalie this season in Abbotsford as it became clear he gave the club their best chance to win. Although DiPietro has played better as of late, he had a frustrating start to his season and still authors a save percentage below .900, and the same can be said for Arturs Silovs.
Meanwhile, Martin is putting up some of the best numbers of his seven-year pro career, and has capitalized on the work he’s been able to get in with Curtis Sanford and Ian Clark.
Head coach Bruce Boudreau said yesterday that he’d consult goaltending coach Ian Clark to help him decide which goaltender to go with, but offered up his thoughts about the situation as well.
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“Martin’s been here practicing with us, he’s more used to the NHL, but I would defer to Ian to tell me which one he thinks should start,” said Bodureau.
DiPietro has made more starts than Martin in Abbotsford, and as mentioned, has played better recently, so it’ll be interesting to see which goalie gets the nod in goal.
Based on Boudreau’s comments, we’re giving the advantage to Martin, but you never know. We’ll have complete game day coverage coming as soon as morning skate commences on Friday.