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Canucks AM Skate – Covid COL, Pill Poppin’ KHL, Price is Out

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non Vancouver Canucks, Barkov
Sasha Barkov of the Florida Panthers will see the Vancouver Canucks on January 11th.

There’s a rather large announcement expected from the national Hockey Now network next week, that will supplement your Vancouver Canucks coverage. We look forward to sharing it with you coming out of the Thanksgiving holiday. In the meantime …

Let’s Skate! …

It’ll become official today; Sasha Barkov has agreed to a deal with the Florida Panthers that will pay him $10-million per season for the next eight years. The team captain and reigning Selke Trophy winner as the NHL’s best defensive forward is entering his ninth season and was slated to be an unrestricted free agent next summer. Cat’s General Manager Bill Zito avoids that situation and locks up his top player for the foreseeable future.

Head Coach Jared Bednar of the Colorado Avalanche tested positive for Covid earlier this week, putting a damper on the ramp up to the regular season, one in which the Av’s hope to repeat as Presidents Trophy winners and launch themselves toward a Stanley Cup. Adrian Dater has this and more on one of the most powerful teams in the league.

All is calm following the Robin Lehner tweet storm last weekend that had the NHL front office and the NHLPA scrambling on damage-control. The Vegas Golden Knights goalie’s threats to blow up twitter with follow-up tales of player pill popping and stories of team doctors with rampant misdiagnosis never came to fruition. After an intervention by Gary Bettman and friends, Lehner had calmed down, backed off, issued an apology of sorts on Tuesday and decided to help the overall mental health cause in any way he can. My cohorts at Hockey Wanderlüst did a very nice job of summarizing and putting it into perspective when comparing the NHL to the KHL in days gone by. Startling is a word.

Speaking of the mental health issue, Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price announced Thursday that he’s taking a leave of absence from the team and entering the NHL’s and NHLPA’s player assistance program. While the team has offered its support and is prioritizing Price’s health, they also have to address their netminding situation while he’s out. NHL.com tells the extensive tale.

The Vancouver Canucks lost last evening to the Oilers in Edmonton 3-2 in a feisty, entertaining match that featured four power play goals. Here is a delightful set of notes from Thursday that will be updated after the team practices at noon Friday at the Rogers Arena. The Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers play one another again Saturday night in BC to wrap up the preseason, and then start the regular season head-to-head on Wednesday October 13th back in Alberta.

VHN Managing Editor Rob Simpson has been covering the NHL for three decades on live TV, radio, and as a journalist. He worked his first ever game getting postgame sound as a teenager; it was Vancouver vs. Detroit.

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