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AM Skate: NHL Missing Goalies, Canucks Covid, Kane Debut

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Vancouver Canucks, Thatcher Demko
Vancouver Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko in warm-ups before taking on the Washington Capitals.

It looks as though the Vancouver Canucks have cycled through almost all of their Covid cases. Goalie Thatcher Demko returns to start Saturday against the Calgary Flames, captain Bo Horvat could return as well, while forward Conor Garland already has the Winnipeg game under his belt. Back-up goalie Jaroslav Halak will dress for his second consecutive game as the non-starter.

Netminder Spencer Martin, who won the game against the Jets on Thursday, his first ever victory as an NHL goalie, slides back to the taxi squad.

Tanner Pearson, showing excellent work ethic in his most recent games with a bit of a scoring touch, tested positive and entered Covid protocol three days ago. He’d be the only Canucks player in that situation at the moment.

While the Vancouver Canucks prepare to take their morning twirl in Calgary, you can get a head start …

Let’s Skate!! …

Grab Your Mask!

Speaking of goalie lists, the Canucks going five deep, at one point signing UBC goalie Rylan Toth to an ‘amateur try-out’ to sit on the bench as back-up to Michael Dipietro against the St. Louis Blues earlier this week, pales in comparison to the Buffalo Sabres situation. The Sabres are now seven goalies deep on the depth chart. Actually, they’re off the depth chart.

Craig Anderson continues to be unavailable with an upper-body injury suffered back on November 2nd, while his original back-up Dustin Tokarski continues to recover from Covid. On January 11th, both Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and Malcolm Subban were injured against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Aaron Dell joined the line-up but he was suspended three games for Wednesday’s interference hit on Ottawa Senators forward Drake Batherson. That left Michael Houser, the last Sabres goalie under contract in their system to handle the duties Saturday and probably Sunday against the Arizona Coyotes and Colorado Avalanche respectively.

Guess what … positive Covid test. Out. Looking for goalie number-seven and eight. Tough times between the pipes these days for the Vancouver Canucks but especially for their 1970 expansion brethren.

Evander Kane Debut

“I’ve been in this league a long time and I try to share those experiences with guys on the team and try to help prevent them from making those same mistakes that I have. So I look at it that I’m an experienced guy coming in. I’m looking to add to the group in a positive way and I’m really excited about the opportunity. I think it’s going to be great.” — Evander Kane on arriving to the Edmonton Oilers.

Kane, a Vancouver native and the consummate modern NHL power forward on the left wing, signed a one-year contract with the Oilers on Thursday following three-plus tumultuous seasons with the San Jose Sharks organization. The list includes dressing room issues, a gambling investigation, and most recently an NHL suspension for circumventing Covid rules.

Kane makes his Oilers debut Saturday against the Montreal Canadiens.

Cup Favourites?

The Colorado Avalanche haven’t lost in regulation in 2022. They ran their January record to 14-0-and-1 last night in Chicago with a 6-4 victory over the Blackhawks. It was the Avalanche’s ninth victory in a row, their second without superstar Nathan MacKinnon who was injured very early in the last game against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday.

MacKinnon suffered facial fractures on a hit by Taylor Hall and could miss the NHL All-Star Game on February 5th. He was slated to be the Central Division captain.

JT Compher tallied a ‘Gordie Howe Hat Trick’ (goal, assist, fight) in the victory Friday night.

By the way, the Avalanche have won 17 consecutive home games. They host the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday and the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday.  19 anyone?!

By the way, Colorado Hockey Now has a cool profile of Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog.

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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