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What you need to know about COVID-19: September 21, 2020
Micheal Ferland of the Vancouver Canucks is penalized for spearing against the Minnesota Wild team in game 1 of the Western Conference Qualification Round prior to the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on Aug. 2, 2020 in Edmonton.
Micheal Ferland took on Marcus Foligno in a first-period fight Sunday.
Vancouver Canucks winger Micheal Ferland is out of action and has returned to his off-season home in Brandon from Edmonton, where the Canucks are tied 1-1 in their Stanley Cup qualifying round series against the Minnesota Wild.
Ferland will be re-evaluated after the qualifying round, the NHL team confirmed Wednesday afternoon.
It’s not known what Ferland’s injury is — league policy only allows for players to be deemed “unfit to play” — but first instincts suggest it may be related to his previous concussion symptoms, which forced him from the lineup in late October and then again ending two attempts to return to action in December and again in February.
Ferland has said previously that his symptoms affected his vestibular system, making for difficulties with his vision and balance. He compared the feelings, which come on when he has to track several moving objects or people with his eyes, to feeling drunk.
“It was never the contact part, it was more of the speed and the bodies and having to make plays at top speed that I was having problems with,” he said last month after coming though training camp without any symptoms.
He said he wasn’t having issues away from the ice. Two months of rest at home with his family, forced by the pandemic shutdown, seemed to have put him in the clear, he said.
And after skating in scrimmages in this summer’s training camp, Ferland was declared ready to play again. He skated on a line with Adam Gaudette and Antoine Roussel in game 1 and seemed to have no issues, though he did get in a fight early in the game.
But he left Tuesday’s game against the Minnesota Wild after the first period. There didn’t appear to be one incident in particular that might have caused a problem. The team didn’t comment on his status at the time.
Asked for a comment, Canucks general manager Jim Benning cited the NHL Players’ Association and its agreement for non-disclosure of injuries and the “unfit to play” language that is part of the league’s Return To Play plan.
“They (NHLPA) did the verbiage and he (Ferland) has left the bubble, but I can’t comment,” said Benning. “I’m always willing to share what I know, but as part of the agreement with this tournament, I can’t comment on injuries. And I think this goes through the post-season and after that, we’ll be able to talk about it and we’ll probably know more than.”
Several sources indicated that Ferland’s contract is not insured, but the Canucks declined to comment, citing privacy.
There is a league wide insurance provider, which covers a certain number of contracts per team. Generally the insurer says yes, unless the player has serious pre-existing conditions, which could mean the insurer will decline to cover only some or possibly none of the contract.
Insurance claims can only be made at the end of the season.
In salary cap terms, if Ferland is unable to play his contract can be shifted to the long term injury reserve list, giving the team cap relief. But they still have to pay the contract, insured or not.
Ferland’s contract has three years left to run, at $3.5 million per season.
— with a file from Ben Kuzma
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020