When Jake Voracek was absent from the Flyers scrimmage on Saturday, the first thought is that there could be a positive COVID-19 test in Flyers camp. But that was quickly put to rest when Voracek was back on the ice on Sunday for the next practice.
Moments before the team took the ice for the scrimmage on Saturday, GM Chuck Fletcher announced that Jake Voracek was “unable to participate." According to the NHL’s protocol, that is the only update teams are able to give on absent players. So there is no knowledge if Voracek’s absence is injury-related, illness-related or simply a maintenance issue.
The overall turnaround for the Flyers has earned Alain Vigneault a Jack Adams nomination as one of three finalists for the award given to the coach of the year. For Vigneault, this one is special for a specific reason.
The NHL has worked out a return-to-play plan, CBA extension and used very specific planning to get to the start of Phase 3. For them to complete the season, the next two weeks leading up to the travel to Phase 4 hub cities is critical.
Following the news of 11 positive tests for COVID-19 during Phase 2, a crucial week is ahead for the NHL in their efforts to return to play. This week could feature important updates on players testing positive and the selection of hub cities.
Phase 3 of the NHL's return-to-play plan is scheduled to begin on July 10, the earliest possible date based on previous updates. The league will only move to Phase 3 on this date provided that medical and safety conditions allow it.