The Edmonton Oilers saw their fourth postponement of the season on Saturday night when their game against the Vancouver Canucks was called off due to a serious COVID-19 outbreak in Vancouver. At this point, it looks unlikely at best that Edmonton’s games on April 12th and 14th against the Canucks will take place either.
That means more schedule changes are coming for the Oilers. It also likely means their schedule is going to be extended beyond May 11th, when they are set to conclude the season in Montreal against the Canadiens.
The only thing that is certain at this point in time is that everything surrounding the schedule is uncertain. Head Coach Dave Tippett acknowledged that on Sunday prior to his team’s flight to Montreal.
“It probably all depends how long Vancouver is out now. When the teams in the States had that issue, it was easier to deal with at the start of the year than at the end of the year. That’s going to be up to the League,” Tippett said about potential changes to the schedule. “It certainly throws a cork into things. I don’t think they can manage the schedule until they know how many games Vancouver is going to miss.
“Each day goes by I’m sure they’re monitoring things and we’ll see where it goes. I think there’s going to be lots of jumping around in the schedule here as it goes to get games in. You got to be ready for whatever comes your way.”
While none of this is ideal for the Oilers in the midst of a push for a North Division crown, it isn’t unexpected. Tippett has been preaching all season long to expect the unexpected and be ready for anything.
“We talked about it at the start of the year that there could be issues like this come up so you can’t let it bother you. You got to deal with them,” Tippett continued. “That’s been our players’ focus. When stuff comes up, it happens and you got to deal with it. Sitting in Montreal not playing for five days, that’s not ideal for them either but you got to find ways to manage it and get through it. Players have to do the same thing. I’ve said it all along, just read and react. When a new situation comes up, you got to embrace it and make sure you’re ready for it.”
For the Oilers, the new situation involves another trip out east for three games. The club will visit Montreal tomorrow, then play their final two with the Senators on Wednesday and Friday. After that? Uncertainty awaits.