Welcome back one and all. I hope everyone enjoyed some time with their loved ones. There’s been quite a bit of activity around the league during our own holiday pause so let’s get right to it:
- It won’t be news to anyone that the NHL is grappling with another major incursion of COVID as they attempt to continue the season without a full-on shutdown. In order to accommodate all of the roster shake-ups, the league announced the return of taxi squads, albeit on a temporary basis. The Taxi Squads will be in effect from December 26th until the team’s final game prior to the scheduled dates for the 2022 All-Star Break. Six players can be assigned to the squad. Here we go again.
- The Sens are back practicing, but on Monday it was announced that Anton Forsberg had been placed in COVID protocols. Is that Matt Murray’s music I’m hearing?!
- Over in Boston, it would appear that Tuukka Rask is nearing a return to the B’s.
- Meanwhile, DJ Smith remains in protocols so yesterday’s skate was led by skills and development coaches Shean Donovan and Jesse Winchester.
- As of this writing, the next Sens game is scheduled for Friday afternoon against the Pittsburgh Penguins. We shall see.
- The World Junior Championships got underway in earnest yesterday, and Canada served an early scare from Czechia to win 6-3. Owen Power, the 2021 1st overall selection, became the first Canadian defenseman to record a hat-trick in the win.
- Speaking of large defensemen at the World Junior Championships, Sens’ prospect Tyler Kleven is representing the USA. Ian Mendes has a nice profile of Kleven for the Athletic with a lot of the classic youth hockey touches – including hours spent on the backyard rink.
- Meanwhile, there’s another junior world championship that won’t be going ahead again this year: the IIHF announced they were cancelling all programing in January; including and specifically the women’s U18 tournament for the second year in a row. It’s difficult not to look at the supreme effort that is being into making something of the men’s tournament currently taking place, seeing how little of an attempt is being made for the women, and not be left with the impression of a deep injustice. Jeff Marek tackles the issue well here.