A few hours after the Calgary Flames announced Mikael Backlund is the latest player to enter the National Hockey League’s COVID-19 protocol on Friday, the NHL announced more postponements to their schedule. And the Flames are not alone. This all has overshadowed a massive story with Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice resigning his post and making a memorable exit.
The Calgary Flames’ holiday break officially started early, with their first possible game now set for Dec. 27 against the Edmonton Oilers. But everything is really “until further notice” right now with the league. A Zoom call with Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving and team’s head physician, Dr. Ian Auld, offered a little more insight into the rapid spread of Omicron and what may come, but for now the positive news is that many have no symptoms at all and among those who do, most are very mild. At worst, they say, some are feeling moderate symptoms.
More on all that later. For now, catch up on some other news.
Oh, Canada! Canada Hockey Now
Montreal: They didn’t want to play the Bruins. Well, the league granted their wish after hearing concerns from the players about catching COVID.
Vancouver: The Bruce Boudreau winning streak is really something. They are going to put it on the line against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Calgary Flames were supposed to host the Leafs on Thursday.
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NHL: Have to lead with Paul Maurice resigning. He’s one of the most respected head coaches of our time, but is also very understated. Well, he went out with a sudden bang on Friday, resigning after recognizing the Winnipeg Jets needed a new voice.
TSN: There’s growing concern that more teams will pause games, forcing the NHL season to pause, thus denying the NHL players an opportunity to go to the Olympics. Nick Cousins is the first player to declare a pause makes sense.
San Jose: Connor McDavid called the IOC/Chinese COVID protocols and potential five-week quarantine “unsettling.” It sure sounds like Team Sweden will be without the incredulous Erik Karlsson.
Colorado: As Adrian Dater writes, Colorado Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar sounds fed up with the haphazard application and nebulous NHL COVID protocol policy.
Vegas: The Devils wanted a scrap as time expired. Old school hockey, coach. The Vegas Golden Knights obliged, but goalie Robin Lehner wanted to fight, too.
Pittsburgh: Scary thought. Evgeni Malkin is ramping up in his recovery from knee surgery.
Boston: Oh well? The Bruins are beaten up and dealing with COVID (were the Calgary Flames patient zero?) So, of course, the Bruins lost?