Talk about a competitive disadvantage.
While the Vancouver Canucks are nearing the end of a 10-day break, the Abbotsford Canucks are in the midst of playing four games in five nights.
Oh, and they’re doing it without nearly half of their roster.
Last night, the baby Canucks lost their third straight in a four-game set with the Bakersfield Condors. It was a 4-0 defeat, with Oilers prospect Stuart Skinner picking up the shutout.
Abbotsford was only able to dress 16 skaters due to injuries and the team’s COVID-19 outbreak. See how many names you recognize from this list.
New day. New game. Let’s get this!— Abbotsford Canucks (@abbycanucks) January 10, 2022
⁰➡️ Jeri-Leon and Johnston make their #AbbyCanucks debuts
➡️ Silovs makes his first start since Nov. 27
➡️ Wouters returns to the lineup since being placed in COVID protocol
➡️ Stevens enters today’s game with a three-game point streak pic.twitter.com/PFimbB85bX
The Canucks dressed only 11 regular skaters in this contest. At least one of them, Chase Wouters, just came out of COVID protocol and hadn’t skated since Christmas.
Five other players (Brandon Cutler, Yushiroh Hirano, Nicolas Guay, Keltie Jeri-Leon and Garrett Johnston) have just been signed to PTO’s in recent days.
Cutler, a natural winger, lined up as the team’s second-line centre.
Johnston, who was one of two most recent PTO signings, played with all new equipment. His old equipment didn’t arrive in time for the game.
So remember, if you think you have problems this Monday, remember the Abby Canucks.
Here’s head coach Trent Cull post-game on what his team has endured of late.
“I feel bad for our fans. A lot of our guys are trying their best… We had a defenceman playing tonight on a PTO and his equipment hadn’t arrived.— Abbotsford Canucks (@abbycanucks) January 10, 2022
“We want more and want to show [our fans] more…"
️ Head Coach Trent Cull#AbbyCanucks pic.twitter.com/8P66AWyAWj
- Three players (Sheldon Rempal, Spencer Martin and Ashton Sautner) will join the Canucks on this upcoming road trip as members of the taxi squad.
Rempal has been the team’s second-leading scorer this season with 22 points (nine goals, 13 assists) in 24 games.
Martin has been Abbotsford’s best goaltender. He hasn’t lost in regulation yet (5-0-2-1) and sports a 2.24 GAA and a .921 SV% on the year.
- Justin Bailey was also recalled to the taxi squad, but he was quickly reassigned when it was announced that Elias Pettersson had cleared protocol and will join the team on their upcoming road trip.
Elias Pettersson is on the ✈️ and travelling with the #canucks— Dan Murphy (@sportsnetmurph) January 9, 2022
- Speaking on Pettersson, here’s a look at his struggles against the early-career struggles of Nathan MacKinnon. [Daily Hive]
- Before the Pettersson news was announced, it was reported that a symptom-free Brock Boeser flew back to Minnesota to finish his quarantine. [The Province]
- Based on reports from last week, the Canucks had the green light from both the league and Dr. Bonnie Henry to play the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night. It sounds like the game was postponed in an attempt to wait for full capacity.
Dr. Brian Conway, the head of Vancouver’s Infectious Disease Centre, calls that idea “a pipe dream.” [The Province]
“Even if you wanted to fill Rogers Arena, you wouldn’t have the staff. And it’s probably going to be the situation at the minimum until the end of February and probably longer — and that’s pretty optimistic. If I’m wrong, I’ll be the first to stand up and say I’m wrong. But I’m just so not seeing this.”
“The NHL has a decision to make. Do you kick the can down the road a few weeks and hope for change? That’s not going to happen.”
- Kevin Woodley writes about Thatcher Demko’s increasing Vezina odds. [NHL.com]
- Here’s Demko’s current competition for the Vezina [Daily Hive]
- Squire Barnes did a feature on Bruce Boudreau’s role in “Slap Shot.” [Global News]
Around the NHL
- Evander Kane is back in the news for all the wrong reasons. He recently had his contract terminated by the San Jose Sharks who, unsurprisingly, were unable to trade him,
Here’s the latest Vancouver angle in this saga.
The Sharks’ Evander Kane contract termination stems primarily from him traveling to Vancouver while COVID positive, according to multiple sources.— Kevin Kurz (@KKurzNHL) January 8, 2022
And, here are some of the recent takes on what may happen next with the embattled NHLer.
Tough break for Evander Kane. Had his contract been terminated 10 days earlier, he still would have had time to get to Montreal and catch that Air Transat flight to Mexico.— Darren Haynes (@DarrenWHaynes) January 8, 2022
Evander Kane and Antonio Brown about to start a podcast together— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) January 8, 2022
- The award for “X team should sign Evander Kane” goes to...the Edmonton Oilers. [The Hockey Writers]
I’ll save you the click...here should be the answer to that question.
I will go ahead and write your blog post for you:— birky (@b1rky) January 8, 2022
"Should the [insert NHL team] take a chance on Evander Kane?"
There you go, I accept venmo or paypal.