You say “to-may-to”, I say “to-mah-to”, but in the end, the affect on the Vancouver Canucks salary cap is one and the same. Yesterday, after a national website reported that Canucks defenceman Travis Hamonic had been suspended by the club without pay, the team announced that actually the player and team had agreed on Hamonic taking an unpaid “leave of absence.” Either way, the final $1.85-million in cap hit that remained after he was waived, comes off the active books. He’s not here, he’s not in Abbotsford, and we understand it’s a very private matter. In the meantime …
Let’s Skate …
— Holy moly Evander Kane, what is the dealie? I’m frankly not in the mood to go through the career laundry list of trouble and immaturity, but off the tail-end of being cleared of allegations made by his estranged wife that he gambled on NHL hockey, and yes he does have gambling issues, we now learn that Kane has been suspended for 21 NHL games for violating the league’s Covid protocols. Dude! Here’s the Vancouver native’s statement on NHL.com:
“I would like to apologize to my teammates, the San Jose Sharks organization, and all Sharks fans for violating the NHL COVID protocols,” Kane said in a statement. “I made a mistake, one I sincerely regret and take responsibility for. During my suspension, I will continue to participate in counseling to help me make better decisions in the future. When my suspension is over, I plan to return to the ice with great effort, determination, and love for the game of hockey”
— Former Hart Trophy winner as NHL MVP and the leading scorer for the Tampa Bay Lightning the last five seasons, Nikita Kucherov, will be out of the Bolts line-up for an extended period. He suffered a lower body injury in the third period of Saturday’s game against the Washington Capitals. There is no timetable quite yet for his return. Meanwhile, Columbus Blue Jackets forward Max Domi does have a timetable; he’ll be out two to four weeks with a rib fracture.
— I loved the comment I caught a glimpse of Monday when the NHL announced its three stars for the week. “What year is this?!” It could have also been, “Where are all the kids?!” Indeed, it felt like a little bit of a flashback when we saw the three names Anze Kopitar, Alex Ovechkin, and Steven Stamkos. The 34-year-old Slovenian centre had a seven-point week including a hat trick, the 36-year-old Russian winger had five points over two games, and the 31-year-old Canadian forward had seven points in three games along with a game-winning goal.
— Yes it’s only been two games, but the Buffalo Sabres are undefeated, taking care of business in the first half of their four-game season opening homestand. The Sabres host the Vancouver Canucks tonight after defeating the Montreal Canadiens last Thursday 5-1 and finishing off the Arizona Coyotes 2-1 in a shoot-out on Saturday. For the Canucks it’ll be game-four of a franchise record, season opening six-game road trip in which they have started 1-1-1. The Sabres have the Boston Bruins Friday night in their fourth game before heading to New Jersey to take on the Devils the very next night. The Canucks will play Thursday in Chicago against the Blackhawks and then wrap the roadie in Seattle on Saturday night. It’ll be game-one of the new “Border Battle” between the Kraken and the Canucks. (We’re working on that rivalry name).
— Through three games, both former Arizona Coyotes Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Conor Garland seem to be enjoying themselves with the Canucks, and creating a bit of havoc. The story from Sunday in case you missed it. To get a very special dealie-doo on exclusive hockey coverage from all of the Canadian Hockey Now markets including Vancouver, click on the membership subscription offer and use the coupon code ‘canucks’. It’s very inexpensive, and thank you for your support.
Enjoy the Hockey Action!!