Since Monday, a plethora of news has been released regarding the league-wide response to COVID-19. The global pandemic is once again the main story for your Links, News and Notes, but first let’s get to a few positive stories.
- How about those New York Islanders? They're an astounding 0-3-4 since trading their 2020 1st and 2nd round picks to Ottawa for Jean-Gabriel Pageau. They've been really unlucky over this stretch, with a dead-last .865 save percentage, but their overall save percentage of .911 (8th in the NHL) implies some regression from unsustainably phenomenal goaltending. It’s safe to say they’re about where they deserve to be right now. The Isles’ 1st rounder is Top-3 protected, but having a third pick in the Top 20 would be huge for the team. Be sure to check out Colin’s piece for some intriguing under-the-radar players Ottawa could select.
- I was able to tune in to the Sportsnet broadcast of VGK @ CGY on International Women’s Day and I thought Leah Hextall’s play-by-play was solid, an underrated highlight for me was the “wait, Lucic scored?” moment. Regardless of your opinion of her work, it’s good to see a step taken towards the NHL truly realizing “Hockey is For Everyone”.
- Cases of COVID-19 have continued to flare up in Canada, as both Ottawa and Sudbury had their first confirmed diagnosis yesterday, which you can read more about here and here.
- NHL clubs have implemented different precautions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, varying based on the degree of seriousness of the virus within each city. The Columbus Blue Jackets, in accordance with orders of Ohio governor Mike DeWine as well as recommendation by the league, will close off their remaining home games from the public, while the Leafs and Habs have grounded their scouting staff, preventing them from air travel. Expect other teams to enable similar protocols in the near future.
- About an hour before yesterday’s game against the Kings, owner Eugene Melnyk released a statement regarding the Senators’ status regarding the pandemic. For the time being, no drastic changes have been implemented; the statement outlines the various health and safety procedures at the CTC, and ensures that the organization is committed to maintaining such an environment for patrons. The Senators are currently “monitoring the situation closely and are working with our various event partners, with Ottawa Public Health and the NHL”, and we can expect more to come as the NHL will release a statement today following up on the league’s update yesterday. With the NBA suspending its 2019-20 season in response to Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert’s recent diagnosis, the NHL will likely follow suit if the situation becomes dire.