After nearly a month (and a season for that matter) of bad news, there have been some positive developments for the Vancouver Canucks over the last 48 hours.
Of course, Horvat and Holtby led the Canucks to an always-satisfying victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday. But, more importantly, there are no more Canucks on the COVID-19 protocol list, according to the NHL.
The Canucks at one time had 21 players on that list. To see most of them on the road to recovery is the best story to come out of the Canucks season.
Hopefully, their family members aren’t too behind. Both Horvat and Holtby, the Canucks saviours on Sunday, said that their spouses were hit harder by the virus than they were.
Better days ahead for the entire Canucks family, we hope.
- The NHL should have seen this coming and hey, maybe they did.
We learned on Monday that Alex Edler has been handed a two-game suspension for his knee on Zach Hyman. It was a senseless play, but something like this was completely predictable.
What the Canucks are facing is unprecedented. While the whole league carried along like nothing was wrong, the Canucks sat on the sidelines for 25 days. You had to figure that something dangerous was going to occur when you have players recovering from a respiratory virus playing NHL hockey for the first time in forever — against teams in the middle of the fight, no less.
Edler shared his COVID-19 story with a Swedish outlet recently, talking about how the virus affected him and his family for more than a week.
After all that, it’s easy to see anyone making a desperate play to get off the ice. A three-minute shift is long for anyone, never mind a 34-year-old veteran who’s recovering from COVID-19.
With Edler out, you would assume that Nate Schmidt ends up getting back into the lineup if he’s healthy enough to go. Jack Rathbone was called up late last week, but he isn’t eligible to play until Saturday, April 24th against the Ottawa Senators.
- It seems like there’s a good possibility that the Comets are leaving Utica. Some astute reporting uncovered that Utica Comets President Robert Esche has registered the Utica Devils as a trademark with the U.S. government Trademark and Patent office.
While it’s not a closed deal, it looks like there’s a strong chance that the Canucks AHL affiliate will move closer to Vancouver. Both the Canucks and the Comets have continuously preached that this is a positive working relationship, but it’s clear that the distance has been an issue, and that’s only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Steve Ewen breaks down some options for the Canucks new AHL home here. [The Province]
- Rathbone and Kole Lind are now in Vancouver after being called up, but there are still a couple of high-flying Canucks prospects down in Utica.
Jonah Gadjovich has continued his breakout season, and he’s now up to 12 goals in 14 games.
Jonah Gadjovich looks like a basketball power forward on this goal as he pots his 12th goal of the season in his 14th game.— Faber (@ChrisFaber39) April 20, 2021
He can't stop scoring in the AHL. pic.twitter.com/QSMQZgITMz
24-year-old Lukas Jasek is also up to 13 points in 15 games.
Gadjovich’s rise, in particular, has been notable, although it should be noted that the AHL season is arguably weirder, than the NHL’s. Many AHL guys are on taxi squads across the NHL. Also, the Comets are just playing the same four teams over and over again.
- Nick Bondi just released the latest episode of Power of the Towel, talking about Horvat’s leadership and why Leafs’ fans think Edler is the second coming of Matt Cooke. [Nucks Misconduct Podcasts]
- Adam Gaudette made his Blackhawks debut last night. It was an up and down affair for the former Canuck. He began the night on the top line, before being demoted to the fourth line. Gaudette did register his first point as a Blackhawk with an assist, but he was on the ice for a goal against, and he finished with less than eight minutes of ice time.
- Good guy Patty Marleau broke the long-standing record set by Gordie Howe for most NHL games played.
A big moment for him, as you can hear in his voice here.
Marleau got emotional when talking about his love for the game pic.twitter.com/6jZGQY7vgw— Sharks on NBCS (@NBCSSharks) April 20, 2021
- Reality will likely set in for the Canucks after adrenaline (but mostly goaltending) carried them to a win on Sunday. However, if you’re still on Team Playoffs, last night was good for the Canucks.
The Habs lost 4-1 to the Edmonton Oilers, and they are now 3-7-0 in their last 10 games. The Flames lost to the Ottawa Senators, with the below play basically summing up their season.
experience calgary flames hockey pic.twitter.com/SSxF9EkA68— Mike Pfeil (@mikepfeil_) April 20, 2021
The Canucks are 10 points behind the Habs with five games in hand. They also have four games coming up against the Ottawa Senators after Tuesday night’s tilt against the Leafs.
Not saying it’s possible...but there’s a rose-coloured path of optimism if you want to hype yourself up for another day or two.
#Canucks' playoff odds are up to 18% as a result of Montreal and Calgary's losses on Monday, per @domluszczyszyn's model.— Thomas Drance (@ThomasDrance) April 20, 2021
Club was at 6% on March 31st, when a COVID outbreak put them on pause for 18 days. Their playoff odds have since tripled.
Habs leaving the door wide open.