The New York Islanders last took the ice on Monday, following the news that their game against Montreal later that day was postponed. With an off-day on Tuesday, the Islanders will not be back on the ice until Dec. 26, when facilities can reopen following the NHL and the NHLPA’s decision to shut down from today until after Christmas day. These two parties also came together and decided that they will not be sending NHL players to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. There are a few Islanders that are absent from the team, as we give you the latest update on their status.
These stories and more in today’s daily links!
The NHL and the NHLPA have agreed to not send players to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing due to the growing cases of COVID-19 around the NHL and globally according to sources at ESPN. The NHL had built into the 2021-22 schedule a two-week break from Feb. 7 to Feb. 22 in order to participate. Those two weeks will now be used to make up as many games as possible that had been postponed already this season due to COVID-19. (NYI Hockey Now)
With the New York Islanders starting their Christmas break early following the postponement of their Thursday contest against the Washington Capitals, here is an update on the players currently missing from the lineup. When is Mat Barzal do back? What’s the latest on Ryan Pulock? Is Kyle Palmieri being held out for precautionary reasons? Matt Martin and Robin Salo sure are. (NYI Hockey Now)
Tuesday morning the Boston Bruins have placed defenseman Brandon Carlo into COVID-19 protocol. He became the 10th Boston player to be added to protocol. Head coach Bruce Cassidy gave an update on how his players were doing. (Boston Hockey Now)
Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was looking forward to competing in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Unfortunately, that will not be the case, which means Crosby may never don the Canadian black, white, and red. When asked about not being able to represent his country again, Crosby was hoping that the Olympics could be postponed. (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)
The Florida Panthers have only one player captain an All-Star Game since introduced divisional play. That was Jaromir Jagr. Voted on by the fans, it would be rather hard for a current Florida player to receive that honor. Sasha Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Aaron Ekblad, and Sergei Bobrovsky are amongst the Panthers who are on the ballot. (Florida Hockey Now)
The Detroit Red Wings have added two more players to COVID protocol. Defenseman Jordan Oesterle and forward Adam Erne are the latest Detroit Red Wings to enter the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols. That’s brings the total to 11 players now. Head coach Jeff Blashill and assistant coach Alex Tanguay are also in COVID-19 protocol. (Detroit Hockey Now)
The Montreal Canadiens no longer have Shea Weber manning the blue line. But it looks like their top prospect, 19-year old Kaiden Guhle, could be the next Weber for this Montreal team. On Tuesday he was named captain of Team Canada at the 2022 World Junior Hockey Tournament. (Montreal Hockey Now)
The Tampa Bay Lightning snapped the Vegas Golden Knights’ five-game winning streak on Tuesday night as they won by a score of 4-3. Prior to picked drop defenseman Alex Pietrangelo and forward Evgenii Dadonov were placed in COVID protocol. Goaltender Robin Lehner and defenseman Nicholas Hague missed the game due to injury. Because of postponements due to the virus, this was the only game remaining on the schedule throughout the NHL before the Christmas break. (Vegas Hockey Now)
The Colorado Avalanche are 17-8-3 through 27 games this season. Right now they occupy the first wild-card spot due to the strong play of the Vegas Golden Knights, and the surprising play by both the Anaheim Ducks and the Calgary Flames. Here are the Avalanche player grades, a bit past the quarter mark of the regular season. (Colorado Hockey Now)
The San Jose Sharks thought the COVID-19 woes were behind them. During the beginning of the season, they were hit rather hard and now it seems it’s starting up again. Following Monday’s practice, defenseman Brend Burns was placed in COVID protocol after his test came back positive. Everyone was tested again, as per usual, and now two more players joined Burins. Those two players are centerman Tomas Hertl and forward Jonathan Dahlen. This is the second time both these players have had the virus this season. (San Jose Hockey Now)
On Tuesday, the Vancouver Canucks had their final practice before the Christmas break. The Canucks were still without Tyler Myers, Brad Hunt, and Tucker Poolman along the blueline and Tyler Motte and Juho Lammikko upfront. Assistant coach Jason King also remains absent. There’s no definitive word on when they might be available, but it sounds like the players who have tested positive with the latest variant of Covid have mild symptoms if any at all. (Vancouver Hockey Now)
What the 2022 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas will look like remains to be seen. But if early fan voting plays into the selection of the Calgary Flames representative for the Feb. 4-6 event, Matthew Tkachuk is an early favorite. That topic is a nice break on the eve of the NHL season pause, extending the Christmas Break due to the climbing COVID numbers. (Calgary Hockey Now)