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AM Skate – Canucks Playoff Scenario, Cuts, Ovechkin Hurt



Vancouver Canucks, Opponent Ovechkin
Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals will host the Vancouver Canucks on January 16th.

Tales of Vancouver Canucks forward Nic Petan coming shortly. Meanwhile, as VHN projected as far back as September 27th, Will Lockwood, as well as Carson Focht, have been cut and sent to AHL Abbotsford. The Vancouver Canucks wrap up their preseason tonight at home against the Edmonton Oilers. They’re not having a morning skate today, but we are …

Let’s Skate!

Just a reminder coming out of bubble-world, the NHL is back to its standard divisional format and wildcard playoff system this season with the top three teams in each division earning a playoff spot, plus the next best two from each conference, regardless of division, joining as wildcards. This was last seen in 2018-’19 when the Canucks finished 12th in the west.

So what if the Vancouver Canucks finish fourth in the Pacific Division, as many have predicted, behind the Edmonton Oilers, Vegas Golden Knights, and Calgary Flames? If that were indeed the case, then points-wise the Canucks would also have to beat out four teams in the Central Division to finish in the conference’s top eight. That would mean finishing ahead of the likes of the Arizona Coyotes, St. Louis Blues, Chicago Blackhawks, and Nashville Predators, while presuming the Dallas Stars, Colorado Avalanche, Minnesota Wild, and Winnipeg Jets are playoff teams. Of course, this is the worst case playoff-bound scenario that the Canucks can simply avoid by finishing third in the Pacific. Confident?

By the way, VHN is one-for-one with its “Five (Too) Early Predictions for the Vancouver Canucks” posted back on September 6th. And it was actually the “bonus prediction” we got correct, when Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes signed on October 1st. The next one on the line is their record after the opening six-game road trip.

The aforementioned Minnesota Wild had some tough luck Thursday night when big, left wing prospect Matthew Boldy fractured an ankle in a game against the Chicago Blackhawks and will miss the next four to six weeks. He was the 12th-overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft out of the US’s National Team Development Program. The youngster then played two years at Boston College before tallying 18 points in 14 AHL games last season in Iowa.

In even bigger lower-body injury news, Alexander Ovechkin left the Wasington Capitals preseason finale against the Philadelphia Flyers friday night in the first period with a leg injury. Ovie, slated to start his 17th NHL season on Wednesday against the New York Rangers, was slow to get up after hitting Flyers forward Travis Konecny. Ovechkin limped off and didn’t return.

Former Stanley Cup champion head coach Dan Bylsma will be riding the bus this season with the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers as an assistant coach. Bylsma coached the PIttsburgh Penguins to a championship back in 2009 and held that post for another five seasons before shuffling off to Buffalo. Yes, seems easy to forget, but Bylsma was one of the many Sabres head coaches to rotate through over the last eight seasons. He spent the last three years as an assistant in Detroit with the Red Wings.

See you again soon. Enjoy the Hockey Action!

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