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Canucks Skate – Oilers Lose, An NHL ‘Star’ is Out, Avalanche Power

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Vancouver Canucks practice
The Vancouver Canucks listen to instructions from Head Coach Bruce Boudreau at practice on Monday, January 3rd.

The Vancouver Canucks gained ground by sitting out Monday night. The Edmonton Oilers lost in New York City to the Rangers and now own just one game in-hand on the Canucks. The Oilers will play it Wednesday night in Toronto against the 21-8-and-2 Maple Leafs. Edmonton sits in 4th place in the Pacific Division with 38 points, three ahead of the Canucks.

The Vancouver Canucks remain tied with the San Jose Sharks in 6th place in the Pacific, with the Sharks having played one less game. That match happens tonight in Detroit against the Red Wings. The Canucks next game is slated for Saturday.

While we wait …

Let’s Skate !

Cruel Twist

Talk about a bittersweet award. VHN talked yesterday about Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko being named the NHL’s 3rd-Star of the Month for December. The man just ahead of him in the rankings, 2nd-Star Max Pacioretty of the Vegas Golden Knights, left the line-up just before New Years with a wrist injury. In case you missed it, Vegas Hockey Now reminds us about the surgery and his indefinite absence.

Avalanche Rolling On

So while many pundits picked those Golden Knights to come out of the Western Conference and potentially threaten for a Stanley Cup, many others had the Colorado Avalanche as their biggest threat. Colorado Hockey Now’s Adrian Dater has been writing about the club a very long time and tells us this season’s edition is the deepest Avalanche team he’s covered in twenty years.

What’s Not to Like About Sid?

So wait a minute. You’re telling me the Pittsburgh Penguins are a threat to jump into a meaningful playoff position in the Eastern Conference? Says who? Pittsburgh Hockey Now, that’s who, based on the Penguins eight-game winning streak and their ability to remain fluster-free through Covid, injuries and other illnesses. Might it be the veteran leadership and that championship pedigree? They’ve been through a lot over the years and they’re doing the one-day-at-a-time thing rather well under head coach Mike Sullivan and captain Sidney Crosby.

The Penguins are presently holding down the Eastern Conference’s first wild card spot by a comfortable margin.

Shooting Stars Return

Not a fan of Mondays? Don’t tell that to the Dallas Stars. Yesterday, the Lone Star State’s NHL club finished testing ten players out of Covid protocol. Ten!

“Guys have been at different stages as far as how they’ve felt,” Stars general manager Jim Nill told the Dallas Morning News. “Some guys have been real lethargic, other guys no problem at all. It’s over the last 2-3 days that everybody’s tested out. We had a big group test out today.”

Defencemen Jani Hakanpaa, Esa Lindell, Ryan Suter, and Miro Heiskanen along with forwards Luke Glendening, Roope Hintz, Radek Faksa, Michael Raffl, Joel Kiviranta, and Jason Robertson are all eligible to play.

Enjoy the Hockey Action !!

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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