Game Off! Tuesday originally had ten NHL games on the schedule, only two of them will be played. The Washington Capitals will visit the Philadelphia Flyers (this has since been postponed) and the Tampa Bay Lightning will skate against the Golden Knights in Vegas. After tonight, because of the Covid Omicron outbreak, the NHL will play no games until December 27th. The Vancouver Canucks will get one more practice in on Tuesday before the league closes its arena and practice rink doors until the afternoon of December 26th.
According to the arrangement announced by the NHL and NHL Players Association: “Upon return from the Holiday Break to team facilities, no individual in the team’s Traveling Party shall enter the facility (other than for testing purposes) until they have a negative test. Any practice scheduled for Dec. 26 must begin after 2:00 p.m. local time.”
The Boxing Day re-opening will coincide with the start of the World Junior Championship in Alberta, so we’ll be going from no hockey to a lot of hockey in one fell swoop. Until then, grab your street hockey net with the kids and drag it out there … Game On! It’s that time of year. In the meantime …
Let’s Skate! …
The last team to win back-to-back World Junior Championships was Canada, when they reeled off five in a row ending in 2009. Team USA will attempt to win consecutive WJC titles for the first time in history after defeating Canada 2-0 in the Gold Medal match last year. Which of course is actually this year. Last year’s tournament began in 2020 and ended in 2021, just as this year’s will end in 2022 on January 5th in Edmonton. That’s why it’s called the 2022 World Junior Championship.
But Shirley, I digress.
Here’s your opening day schedule and here are your groups, split for the preliminary rounds between Edmonton and Red Deer. The semi’s and final will all be played in Edmonton.
Group A features Finland, Czech Republic, Canada, Germany and Austria in Edmonton, while Group B consists of Russia, Sweden, USA, Slovakia and Switzerland in Red Deer.
Sunday, Dec. 26:
Finland vs. Germany, 11 am PT
Russia vs. Sweden, 1:30 pm PT
Czech Republic vs. Canada, 4 pm PT
United States vs. Slovakia, 6:30 pm PT
Want to see what a four-game suspension looks like? For interference? Ouch!! So says the NHL.
The Other Champions League
Like anything else in soccer/futbol, we know when it unfolds that UEFA Champions League is one of the more popular ongoing events on the planet. Somewhere behind it would fall (ice) hockey’s version of the Champions League. The season within a season unfolds in Europe during breaks in the schedule from Sweden to Switzerland to France. The next decision is whether or not to include Russia and the KHL in future plans but that’s a whole ‘nother story.
For this season we’re down to the final-4 and the semi-final home-and-home matches will crank back up in January. It’s a fun thing to follow if you’re a North American fan of pucks looking to expand your hockey horizons. Starting January 4th Rögle Ängelholm and Frölunda Gothenburg, both of Sweden’s SHL will face-off, with Finland’s Tappara Tampere and Germany’s Red Bull Munich squaring off in the other semi.
Covid cancelled last season, Frölunda are the defending champs from the season before.
Enjoy the Hockey Action !!