With a complete day off on Thursday, the NHL loads up Friday afternoon and evening with 13 games on the schedule including the Vancouver Canucks visiting the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Blue Jackets are 11-and-6 on the season, sitting in the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, while the Canucks are 6-12-and-2, sitting next-to-last in the Pacific Division, one point ahead of the expansion Seattle Kraken. While we await the festivities to begin in Ohio’s state capital, let’s think about going for a twirl …
Let’s Skate! …
With so many NHL players and teams dealing with various Covid delays and protocols again this season, the reality of the league’s participation in the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics is starting to look a bit dicey. I’m not making any predictions here, but don’t be surprised if the NHL tries to back out prior to the January deadline for a decision. Much will depend on the overall Covid situation in China as well.
We know this for now; it appears a great majority of the players still want to go.
Many of you might be familiar with UEFA Futbol/football (soccer) and the Champions League in the that sport. Of course it’s huge worldwide. Fewer of you are probably familiar with hockey’s Champions League. Sorry, ice hockey’s Champions League. It’s the schedule within the schedule for European clubs, similar to the arrangements in soccer.
The ice version has reached its final eight and there’s a pretty solid cross section of Europe represented.
Last season didn’t happen because of the Covid-19 pandemic, but Frölunda from Sweden won the previous two titles and four of the last five. The league in its current form was revived in 2014 after a hiatus and reorganization.
The Flames are Hot …
Ok, so there’s one of the more over-used puns when Calgary starts to play well. But instead of calling them hot, we’ll call them super instead, at least that’s what NHL.com is doing. The Flames jumped up in the rankings by the league’s staff writers on Thursday, all the way to 5th in the NHL. Head coach Darryl Sutter’s squad sits atop the Pacific Division with a record of 12-3-and-5 and 29 points. By the way, that’s 15 points ahead of the Vancouver Canucks with both teams having played 20 games.
The Sid and Ovie Encore
If you’re in your mid-twenties or older, there’s a very good chance you remember the Sid versus Ovie “who-is-greater” debates that went on every year, predominantly for the first decade of their careers. Sidney Crosby won a Stanley Cup in his fourth season in 2009 and for many that ended the argument. Then he won two more, in 2016 and 2017, and it was really over.
Then Alexander Ovechkin earned his silver chalice in 2018 and since then has been on a magical run through the NHL record books. So guess what? The debate is back. Pittsburgh Hockey Now had some fun with this and they nailed it.
Enjoy the Hockey Action !!