Happy Monday all! It’s a very big week because my birthday is tomorrow. If anyone wants to tell me how much they love me and my writing, Tuesday would be the perfect day. Just shoot me a DM on Twitter. I also accept gifts.
In all seriousness, while I’m very excited to be turning 26, you all want to read about hockey. This week, my takes include COVID running rampant in the NHL, some historic moments for one team, and two of my favorite videos and soundbites of the last few weeks.
Happy birthday to me!
1. Canucks Hit Hard by COVID
Over the weekend, it was reported that more than half of the Vancouver Canucks roster, including a few coaches, had tested positive for COVID-19. 16 players on Vancouver have tested positive and their practice facility will be closed until at least Tuesday.
This is the worst instance of COVID infiltrating a team that we’ve seen in sports since the pandemic started over a year ago. 45 games have been postponed so far this season, but it’s hard to imagine the Canucks being able to take the ice again for a while.
I know the league is working hard to prevent the spread of the virus, but I can’t help but feel for the Canucks players and staff. It could take weeks for everyone in the organization to recover and be in playing shape again. Four of the team’s games have been postponed so far. Their next game is scheduled for Thursday, April 8 against Calgary. I doubt the team will suit up for that game.
What happens if the Canucks are a few points out of the playoffs come the end of the season? They’re six points back of Montreal for the fourth seed in the Scotia North Division as of Sunday night. This outbreak has the potential to wreak major havoc on the season. If this happens to another team it could really jeopardize the rest of the season.
2. Stars’ Bowness Pulled From Game Due to COVID Protocols
More scary COVID news. Stars’ head coach Rick Bowness was pulled from a game on Sunday due to COVID protocols. Bowness is fully vaccinated so he will be alright.
I don’t know how the league is doing its testing and how quickly they get results. However, how do they allow someone to stand on the bench if their test results haven’t come back yet or they’re not confident that a player or coach doesn’t have COVID? If Bowness tested positive and was standing on the bench, there is a good chance he could have spread the virus to one of his players, who could have spread it to a player on the Hurricanes, the Stars’ opponent that night.
It just baffles me that stuff like this can happen. I’m sure there are smarter people than me behind the COVID protocols but this is not a great look for the NHL or the Stars. All parties involved better tighten this up or the season won’t last much longer.
3. Erik Karlsson is Awesome
I’ve written enough about negative things this week. My favorite story from last week was Erik Karlsson’s comments he made to reporters after the team’s shootout win against the Minnesota Wild. Karlsson had a big game in which he scored two goals and the shootout winner.
After the game, Karlsson was asked the following question by a reporter, “Was that the best offensive game you’ve ever had?” Karlsson responded with this.
Not sure if this is out there yet but Erik Karlsson’s answer to whether last night was his best-ever offensive game was great. The apple puts it over the top pic.twitter.com/NSaBK2aNsV
— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) March 30, 2021
It’s not only Karlsson’s response to the question. It’s his demeanor. He simply replies, “no,” and takes a bite of his apple. That’s the confidence of one of the world’s best players. This is what hockey needs more of. Guys speaking their mind. It’s not like Karlsson couldn’t back it up either. He earned the right to say what he said after the game he played.
4. Buffalo Finally Wins a Game!
Poor, poor Buffalo Sabres fans. I thought the Red Wings had it bad last year. This season’s Sabres are entering worst-team-ever territory. The Sabres won a game on Wednesday. That was their first win in 18 games. In that span, the team lost 15 games in regulation, lost two games in overtime, and lost one game in the shootout.
That’s right. The Sabres hadn’t won a game since February 23 against New Jersey. That’s more than a month without winning a game. At least they made history doing it. The Sabres now have the record for the longest winless streak since the shootout era started in 2005-06. They also tied the 2003-04 Penguins for the most-consecutive losses since 2000.
Last year’s Detroit Red Wings were on pace to finish the season with the fewest points in this era. That team finished with a .275 points percentage (P%). That made them the 37th worst team of all-time based on P%. This season’s Sabres are a tad better. They currently have a .297 P%. If the season ended today, they would be the 52nd-worst team of all. But, it’s a long season. If the Sabres do trade Taylor Hall or any of their other decent players, they might challenge last season’s Red Wings and a few other teams for being historically bad.
Hey, at least they’re setting records!
5. Insane Adam Fox Sequence
I love Adam Fox. He had the guts to force TWO teams to trade him so he could play for his hometown New York Rangers. Now he’s letting his play do the talking with sequences like this.
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This sequence is from a game between the Rangers and Flyers last Saturday, March 27. The Flyers won the game 2-1. With the game close and the goalie pulled, Fox did everything he could to give his team a chance to win. That included stopping three shots from the Flyers with an open net.
It’s not uncommon for non-goalies to block shots on an open net. However, I don’t think I’ve ever seen the same player block three shots consecutively. You can knock Fox’s hustle and will to win. He may have gone to Harvard, but he’s not afraid to put his body on the line to win. ■