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Canucks Skate: Practice! (Again), Jets Hurting, Habs Regroup

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Vancouver Canucks, Rogers Arena
The Vancouver Canucks at practice on January 8th, 2022, the final one prior to their recent five-game road trip.

The Vancouver Canucks are back at Rogers Arena on Thursday to do the only thing they have done in the building since December 14th: practice. It’s been a little more than five weeks since their Tuesday night 4-3 comeback victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. It ran new head coach Bruce Boudreau’s record to 5-and-0 and it earned back-up netminder Jaroslav Halak his first and only win of the season.

That fact is remarkably misleading, but Halak’s travails are a separate story. While we await practice, why not go for a spin of our own …

Let’s Skate !!

Vancouver Canucks and Covid

Just a quickie update before we get cruising and it actually does involve a little bit of Halak. That’s because he would be one of the three Canucks who tested positive for Covid on the recent five-game eastern road trip and had to enter protocols. The wide-ranging, cross-border, no-one’s-really-sure-what’s-going-on protocols. The other two Vancouver Canucks are captain Bo Horvat and feisty forward Conor Garland.

It’s believed at the moment that the three will not be available for the Vancouver Canucks three-game home stand that begins Friday night against the Florida Panthers and continues on Sunday with the St. Louis Blues and then the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday.

Last Men In

JT Miller of the Canucks was one of eight Pacific Division players up for the 11th and final spot on the division’s All-Star Game roster. The first ten players on each team were named by the league, the last player was added following a “fan vote”.

Troy Terry of the Anaheim Ducks snagged the spot, joining his teammate, goalie John Gibson. Netminder Thatcher Demko will be the only player representing the Canucks.

The other “Last Men In” winners were Mika Zibanejad of the New York Rangers in the Metropolitan Division, Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic, and Nazem Kadri of the Colorado Avalanche in the Central. Zibanejad will not appear the game due to personal reasons and will be replaced by second-place vote-getter Jake Guentzel of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

No No Knee

The Winnipeg Jets definitely don’t want to be without sniper forward Nik Ehlers and the Washington Capitals don’t want to be without defenceman Dmitri Orlov, but that will be the case for both clubs for at least the next two games. As explained by the league in this comprehensive article by Washington Hockey Now, Orlov was suspended by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for a kneeing incident on Ehlers Tuesday night.

With a limited rap sheet in the past, Orlov was given just the two. The problem for the Jets, they’re not sure how long Ehlers will be out. He was helped off the ice by a trainer in the third period and coach Dave Lowry says he won’t be playing in at least the next three games. The Jets are already without captain Blake Wheeler, who injured a knee back on December 10th.

The WHN article includes the NHL punishment video.

Hughes Introduced

In our notes the other day we lamented the struggles of the great Montreal Canadiens franchise, apparently reaching an all-time low this season, although they did beat the Stars in Dallas 5-3 on Tuesday night.

Wednesday they introduced the 18th general manager in club history, the former player agent Kent Hughes. Montreal Hockey Now explains the working relationship between Hughes and senior vice president of hockey operations Jeff Gorton. We’re not ‘best friends’ Gorton said, deflecting any criticism that he simply hired a buddy.

The Habs are last overall in the NHL this season with a record of 8-25-and-5.

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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