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Sens at the Break, Olympic News, and Notes from around the NHL

It’s your Thursday Links, News, and Notes

NHL: JAN 29 Ducks at Senators Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

I hope you’re all safe and well, friends and neighbours. I know we all have a lot on our minds right now and the Sens have a few days off for the all-star break so let’s see what else we can use to distract ourselves:

  • Bruce Garrioch gives a glimpse behind the scenes of Mark Kastelic’s NHL debut against the Anaheim Ducks this past weekend. Bruce has some good trivia for those of you who want to learn more about the most recent Senator to get called up to Ottawa. Debuts like these tend to make the losses a little more bearable.
  • In more Sens-centric news, Wayne Scanlan has a deep-dive into the season to date in Ottawa with all of its ebbs and flows. I think for the most part we can all agree that while management probably oversold the quality of this team in 2021-22, they’ve kept us entertained despite a lot of serious setbacks.
  • For those of you looking for a primer for the Olympics, the good folks over at The Victory Press have some extensive previews and more for the women’s tournament.
  • In other Olympic news, Jeremy Colliton will now serve as head coach of the Canadian men’s hockey team. Colliton most recently coached in the NHL in Chicago, and will replace Claude Julien who cannot travel due to injury. Colliton will still consult with the veteran Julien throughout the tournament.
  • Speaking of Chicago, team owner Rocky Wirtz had an awe-inspiring meltdown at a townhall-style meeting on Wednesday discussing the state of the organization. While I poke fun at the outburst, this lack of accountability really reinforces what a lot of us have feared when it comes to superficial actions without structural change in the context of saving hockey culture from its own toxic self.
  • In other NHL news, Carey Price recently opened up to reporters about his recovery from a knee injury and his time spent getting treatment for addiction this past year. Price intends to return to the NHL this season if his physical health permits.
  • On the subject of the Montreal, researchers at Boston University have posthumously diagnosed former Canadien Ralph Backstrom with CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy). Backstrom’s name joins a list of a dozen other former NHLers who suffered from the disease. The NHL remains adamant that hits with to the head associated with playing hockey do not lead to diseases of the brain (despite reaching a settlement in a class action lawsuit by former players in 2018).
  • On a more positive subject, President Biden will bestow upon Willie O’Ree the Congressional Gold Medal for a lifetime of work promoting diversity and inclusion in sport.
  • Mike Nykoluk, who worked as an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Flyers during their Stanley Cup years in the seventies, passed away on Monday at the age of 87. Nykoluk also served as a head coach in Toronto, and in 2007 the American Hockey League Hall of Fame inducted him for his accomplishments during an illustrious AHL playing career.
  • (Content Warning: This paragraph deals with sexual assault) A Michigan court has sentenced ex-NHLer Reid Boucher (who pleaded guilty to criminal sexual conduct in December) to four years of probation with one year of suspended jailtime. Boucher committed the crimes in 2011 while a member of the USNTDP.