LNN: Anisimov in Goalie Gear, Former Senators, and the Habs’ Tailspin

It’s the Monday edition of Links, News and Notes!

It’s been a bit of a slow news week, but here are some of the biggest stories from around the NHL and the world of hockey!

  • Noted Good Dude, Jason Spezza, made some news this weekend for apparently getting his teammates to pool some of their money to help out the Toronto Marlies. AHL players on two-way contracts are only receiving 48% of their usual salary this season because of pandemic-related budget cuts, which means that a lot of them are struggling financially. The Sportsnet article I linked says that players are facing credit card debt, unable to pay rent, and eating fast food. It’s nice of Spezza to take the initiative to help them out, but this is a terrible look for the AHL and the NHL. I know that even sports teams are losing money this year, but you’d think an organization as big as Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment would be able to spare enough money to make sure their players can eat and pay rent. Even putting that aside, though, I don’t see how it’s conscionable to hold a season at all if you can’t pay your players a living wage. Good on Spezza for being a socialist king and redistributing the wealth.
  • The Rona got to PK Subban. He talked about his experience with COVID in this video./
  • The expansion draft is fast approaching, and TSN has a preview for all the North Division teams. As they say in the article, Ottawa is in a pretty good spot right now, since most of their best players are exempt from selection, so there isn’t too much reason for Sens fans to worry. The only big question we have to worry about is which goaltender to protect, but even then we have enough depth in the position that losing one goaltender isn’t the end of the world.
  • In case you missed it after Saturday’s game: yes, Artem Anisimov did suit up as a goalie! I can’t believe they didn’t give him a chance to play./
  • And rounding out this section on former Sens, congrats to Zdeno Chara on 1,600 games!/
  • You may not have noticed this, because Habs fans are notoriously quiet and levelheaded whenever this kind of stuff happens, but the hockey club known as Les Canadiens de Montreal is currently struggling a little bit. They’re currently holding on to the final playoff spot in the North, with four points over Calgary with a game in hand. Vancouver is also eight points behind with five games in hand. The spot is Montreal’s to lose, but things are not looking up. If you’d like to read the calm and rational takes that are being had over in Montreal, you can go check out Habs Eyes On The Prize, who have, so far, provided my favourite coverage of this tailspin. I have very much been enjoying their content lately, and I think many of you will too.
  • (As an aside, I honestly do want to see the Sens win even though the games are meaningless right now, but I’m already looking ahead to the playoffs and I need the Leafs to lose in the first round, which means that I need anyone other than Montreal to be their first round opponent, because I will not cheer for Montreal. So, like, if the Sens were to lose these next two games, I certainly wouldn’t complain).
  • And finally, women’s hockey players have continued to speak up about the cancellation of the Women’s Worlds. The Ice Garden has a good roundup of what they’ve been saying. The IIHF has also put out a statement. I’m going to reiterate my stance that it’s fair to criticize the IIHF for not having a backup plan, and the province for not properly communicating with the IIHF about this, but it’s not fair to act like Nova Scotia would have made an exception for men’s hockey. Based on what the players and the league are saying, it looks like the IIHF was under the impression that the tournament would be allowed to happen regardless of Nova Scotia’s case numbers, as long as they followed health guidelines. This makes absolutely no sense if you look at how the province has been handling the pandemic up until now. The decision to cancel the tournament is perfectly in line with their covid strategy. The only surprising thing here is that they greenlit the women’s worlds at all.  If the IIHF thought they’d be exempt from Nova Scotia’s lockdown rules if cases suddenly spiked, that suggests there was a pretty major miscommunication somewhere./

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