Let’s get some Links, some News, and then we’ll also share some Notes:
- Last night, Hockey Canada announced its 25 man roster for the upcoming Men’s World Junior Championships. As expected, Ridly Greig secured a spot and Connor Bedard became the first 16 year-old to make the team since Connor McDavid — who I hear is good at this hockey thing. I’d place strong odds that Greig will wow us with his skill and cause an international incident after a particularly dirty hit. Maybe not even in that order!
- The most unexpected roster choice was the exclusion of Hendrix Lapierre. As Corey Pronman details here, Lapierre apparently didn’t have a standout camp but it’s still incredibly rare to see an eligible player with NHL experience be left off the squad. The Canadian roster is so stacked that they are virtual locks to medal again, but if they fall a bit short and goal scoring is an issue there will be some deserved questions about this choice.
- Speaking of the World Juniors, the U.S’ selection camp gets underway today. Sens prospect Jake Sanderson is currently injured but he is expected to be healthy in time for the tournament.
- With a 2-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes last night, the Vancouver Canucks are now 4-0 under new coach Bruce Boudreau. It might still be too late to save their season, but Boudreau’s off to the best start of any coach in Vancouver history. Who says changing the bench boss can’t pay immediate dividends?
- On Saturday, Dallas Stars’ GM Jim Nill announced that Ben Bishop’s career had come to an end due to injury. Bishop, who hadn’t played in over a year, allowed eight goals on 34 shots in an AHL game last week and apparently subsequently the decision was made. I wonder what Cory Conacher is up to these days?
- On Friday, Gary Bettman said that the NHL’s participation was “ultimately going to have to be a players’ decision”. This is in response to questions that have come up about the necessary quarantine that players might face in the case of a positive COVID test in China, as well as the sudden growth in COVID cases in North America. Just a few weeks ago, we were talking about mock Olympic rosters but it’s beginning to sound like there’s a real possibility of no NHLers making the trip at all.
- In a bit of a weird one, the league admitted that they should have allowed what would have been a Buffalo Sabres game-tying goal from their Friday night game against the New York Rangers. It’s tough being a Sabres fan these days.
- Finally, there was another big hit last night that resulted in seemingly a major injury when Ryan Lomberg of the Florida Panthers hit Jacob MacDonald of the Colorado Avalanche. MacDonald had to be carted off the ice, though he was alert and responsive as of this writing. On the one hand, Lomberg threw a textbook bodycheck: he delivered a shoulder directly to MacDonald’s chest; there was no penalty on the play, and by the rules that is the correct call. On the other hand, Lomberg is making no attempt to retrieve the puck — in fact he’s making a very poor defensive play in my estimation by allowing the quick hit pass to the middle. Instead, Lomberg is hitting to hurt MacDonald. I don’t have a fully fleshed out thought here other than I really don’t like seeing players suffer traumatic injuries, even if they are the result of “clean” hits and it seems like there’s been a lot of those lately.