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NYHN Daily: COVID Rampaging, Olympics a Major Question Mark & More



New York Islanders

The New York Islanders are back in action tonight as they face the Detroit Red Wings following their first-ever win at UBS Arena. The Calgary Flames are in lockdown, the Olympics are not a given, and Detroit signs Robby Fabbri to a three-year deal.

These stories and more in today’s daily links!

While the Boston Bruins welcomed back head coach Bruce Cassidy from his bout with COVID, defensemen Connor Clifton, John Moore, and goaltender Linus Ullmark all missed practice Monday due to COVID testing issues. Their last opponent, the Calgary Flames, have been shut down due to COVID-19. (Boston Hockey Now)

Kris Letang might be around for quite a while. For over a decade, the Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman has been the primary minutes eater and offensive driver on the Penguins blue line. And, if he weren’t joking, he’d like to be around for another decade. Letang also offered some heartfelt praise for his longtime teammates, including former Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)

Washington Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom joined line rushes at practice for the first time this season. He started the season on I.R. as he was rehabbing a hip injury, but now feels like things are getting back to normal. He slotted in as the second-line center for practice, with shifts on the power play. He’s excited to be back skating with his team. (Washington Hockey Now)

The Detroit Red Wings have signed forward Robby Fabbri to a three-year deal worth $12 million. The contract carries an annual value of $4 million per season. “He’s done a good job,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “I think Fabbs has played extremely hard all year. He’s done a good job with us in terms of how hard he’s played. I’ve been happy with Fabbs’ game through most of the year. He can score. There’s no doubt about it. He knows how to score. (Detroit Hockey Now)

On Monday, the Florida Panthers claimed Jonas Johansson off waivers from the Colorado Avalanche. The struggling netminder we need to pass through waivers to be sent to the minors, but for now Florida has the roster room to carry three netminders. But it seems in the near future, that Spencer Knight will be sent down to the AHL as Sergei Bobrovsky has bounced back this season and is the clear-cut number one netminder. Let the 20-year old Spencer Knight develop his game more in the AHL. (Florida Hockey Now)

With the COVID-19 numbers spiking across the NHL and in China, the Olympics is not a given for NHL players. The league will do it’s due diligence as they gauge how many players wish to go and which players rather remain home. Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo is skeptical about attending, given the fact that he has four kids under the age of three and a half and that would be a long time away from his family. His teammate Robin Lehner had already stated to the media that he would not be attending the Olympics, as it would be bad for his mental health if he was forced to quarantine in China. (Vegas Hockey Now)

The Jonas Johansson era is over in Colorado and while he played solid as a backup for the Avalanche, he was placed on waivers to make room for Pavel Francouz. His departure means more playing time for Justus Annunen with Hunter Miska backing up in the AHL. Colorado also now has $25,000 in cap space. (Colorado Hockey Now)

The Vancouver Canucks have hired Jim Rutherford as their president of hockey operations. He will lead the search for a new general manager, as Vancouver has a lot of work to do to get the franchise back on track. His goal is to hire and mentor the next general manager as he has compiled a list of 40 potential suitors for the position. (Vancouver Hockey Now)

The Calgary Flames have been shut down after six players and one staff member tested positive for COVID-19 in a span of 24 hours. Calgary’s next three games have been postponed, including their matchup Monday night against the Chicago Blackhawks, the only game that was on the NHL schedule. With the border issues in play, this situation had a bit different circumstances. (Calgary Hockey Now)

The Dallas Stars have placed nemtinder Anton Khudobin on waivers. He led Dallas to the Stanley Cup Finals back in 2020 but his lack of games so far this season was a reason for the move. If he clears waivers, he will be assigned to the AHL, where he can play, and play often. The 35 year old is in the second-year of a three year deal. (NHL)

Connor Bedard will make history when the IIHF World Juniors begins this season. Being just 16-years old, he will join the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Sidney Crosby, and Connor McDavid, to name a few, who also played in the World Juniors at that age. He is draft eligible in 2023 and is looking like the favorite so far to be the first overall selection. (NHL)

The Winnipeg Jets will be without captain Blake Wheeler for a bit as he sustained a knee injury on Dec. 10 against the Vancouver Canucks which will force him to miss weeks. This is a big loss, but as the swelling goes down head coach Paul Maurice said he will know more about a potential timeline. (NHL)