While it’s been enjoyable to have things seem relatively normal when it comes to this hockey season, with the return of fans into the stands for games, the Omicron variant seems fairly determined to push the NHL back into a bubble.
The Calgary Flames have had a fourth game postponed, pushing back their return to play as more players and staff were moved into protocol. The Carolina Hurricanes are going to be using two emergency call ups that won’t count against the cap in order to have a roster that’s still two short in tonight’s game against Detroit. And Boston added Patrice Bergeron to their protocol list yesterday. And Washington’s Evgeny Kuznetsov has tested positive for the third time!
It seems as though things are getting out of control again, as they did last year and in the late winter when we saw the Canucks team overwhelmed by the virus. While Omicron may not be as harsh on the people that get it, it certainly seems far more transmissible than the Delta variant, and for that reason, the Province of Ontario has moved to restrict attendance at sporting events to 50% of capacity. The NHL will also be implementing policies similar to what we saw last season, where road teams will be confined to their hotels in order to try and mitigate the spread as much as possible.
It’s expected the BC Government will follow suit with Ontario and cut attendance levels to half capacity any time now. The Canucks delayed their flight to San Jose so that they could have all PCR test results back before leaving.
Hearing no positives for #canucks players. Team on way to San Jose.— Dan Murphy (@sportsnetmurph) December 16, 2021
We’ll have our game preview coming up later today.
AROUND THE NHL
It was a wild one in Chicago last night, as Alex Ovechkin scored his 274th career PP goal, tying him with Dave Andreychuk for first all time, but it was Caleb Jones’ first goal of the year in OT that gave the Blackhawks a 5-4 win over the Capitals. Ovechkin also set up Connor Sheary to tie the game at 4-4 with just 0:03 left in the third period, and the Hawks responded to Ovi’s second period goal with three in 0:34!
Well, Loui Eriksson finally scored a goal. And in true Arizona Coyotes fashion, it didn’t make a damn lick of difference as they blew a 2-1 lead in a 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers last night in Glendale. Kaapo Kakko’s second of the game was the winner for New York.