Can you feel it? It’s close now, and it’s pretty damn exciting. With the start of the 2021 NHL season just days away, the Vancouver Canucks get training camp underway at Rogers Arena this morning. While there was some off ice work being done yesterday, the blades hit the ice today, and we’ll get out first eyes on Nils Hoglander in blue and green, as well as new Dman Nate Schmidt and G Braden Holtby.
The Canucks did make a move yesterday as they invited former Calgary D Travis Hamonic to camp on a PTO. Really smart move here by Jim Benning. If Hamonic’s still got something in the tank, he should be able to get him locked down on the cheap and give that bottom pairing some oomph.
Hamonic made his way to Vancouver from Winnipeg and has begun his 7 day Quarantine before he can join the rest of the team on the ice. And as long as we’re on COVID-19 related topics, the Province of BC officially gave the team and the NHL the green light for Vancouver’s home games to be played at Rogers Arena.
After speaking with @fr_aquilini yesterday about the NHL’s return-to-play plan, I’m pleased to confirm the enhanced health measures being put in place for the upcoming season mean games can safely be played here in BC.— John Horgan (@jjhorgan) January 3, 2021
Lets go @Canucks!
After the chaos that was the 2019-20 season, and the Canucks surprising playoff run, expectations are high for this team from a fan base that’s had to struggle through a half decade of unacceptable mediocrity. Whether they can pick up where they left off given the number of changes made will have to play itself out, but apart from the Ottawa Senators, there’s not really any weak links in the North Division and it’s going to be a 56 game dog fight to make it to the post season for a 2nd straight year after missing the previous 5.
We’ve got a season preview coming up this week, as well as a look at the Canucks 6 divisional opponents, and the other 3 divisions as they head towards the January 13th start date.
In other news...
The New York Islanders have begun their camp without Mathew Barzal.
#Isles camp has begun with off-ice testing today and Mathew Barzal is officially a holdout. Barry Trotz confirmed Barzal is not in camp yet, though he has been on LI.— Arthur Staple (@StapeAthletic) January 3, 2021
"You have to make sure you're adaptable," Trotz said. "We're going to worry about who we can put on the ice."
Offer Sheet! Offer Sheet! Offer Sheet! Come on you cowards, someone see what Old Man Lou is made of!
The Toronto Maple Leafs got camp underway, and much of the buzz so far is around them rolling a line of Auston Matthews, Mitchell Marner and... Joe Thornton. It’s times like these where I reaaaalllly wish Botchford was here to let us know what he thought about this.
And in Edmonton, the 2021 IIHF WJC Semi Finals go tonight, with the United States taking on Finland, and Canada set to take on Vasily Podkolzin and the Russians. Puck drop is at 3pm Pacific/6pm Eastern for the Canada/Russia game, with the medal round set to go tomorrow night. There’s a great story over at TSN on Canada’s goaltender Devon Levy and his shot at revenge against the Russians that you should check out. We’ll have a game thread for tonight’s contest, as well as one for tomorrow night’s medal round, so do join us and get your commenting skills warmed up for the upcoming season, won’t you?