Daily Scan: Tkachuk top Flame in all-star fan vote, NHL COVID pause begins
What the 2022 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas will look like remains to be seen. But if early fan voting plays into the selection of the Calgary Flames representative for the Feb. 4-6 event, Matthew Tkachuk is an early favourite. That topic is a nice break on the eve of the NHL season pause, extending the Christmas Break due to the climbing COVID numbers.
The all-star weekend will again consist of a three-game tournament, played in a three-on-three format, with one from each of the four divisions. Fan voting will determine the captains of each squad. In the Pacific Division, it’s the Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid with a hefty lead.
McDavid has the biggest lead in any division, ahead of teammate Leon Draisaitl (11.2 per cent). With 49 points, the teammates are tied for the NHL lead. McDavid has 17 goals and 32 assists. Draisaitl has 23 goals and 26 assists. Boosted by his Dishigan lacross-style pass, Anaheim Ducks centre Trevor Zegras (7.1 per cent) sits third, ahead of Calgary Flames winger Tkachuk (3.7 per cent), Vegas Golden Knights forward Mark Stone (3.4 per cent) and Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller (3.3 per cent).
Tkachuk is one of four members of the Flames who didn’t come down with COVID over the past couple of weeks. You can also vote for Johnny Gaudreau, Elias Lindholm, Andrew Mangiapane and Jacob Markstrom.
Calgary Hockey Now: Former captain Mark Giordano’s regular-season return to the Saddledome was supposed to happen on Thursday. We’re still waiting to find out when it will happen now.
NHL trade chatter, news and National Hockey Now
First, breaking news from Vancouver …
Vancouver: Could the Vancouver Canucks be going back to an older look? Thatcher Demko was spotted at practice with some old-school equipment that match the color scheme of the “flying skate” that the Canucks wore from the 1970s to 1990s.
TSN: A cool moment for some Canadian kids. Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby appeared virtually at Team Canada’s 2022 IIHF World Juniors practice to announce that Kaiden Guhle would be the captain of Team Canada.
Washington: Speaking of All-Star voting, Alex Ovechkin is pretty darn good at hockey.
NHL: Buried on Monday, but Dylan Larkin, Vladimir Tarasenko and Nikolaj Ehlers were named the NHL’s three stars of the week.
Detroit: Larkin is hot, but who is not for the Wings?
NBC: Here is another power ranking, this one from NBC.
Colorado: Surprisingly, the Avalanche still aren’t on a lot of televisions in the Denver area.
Boston: Bruins defenseman Jakub Zboril’s season is over as he will undergo ACL surgery.
San Jose: Brent Burns is not letting COVID-19 get the best of him. “He rode his bike down here from home today to get tested. He’s still doing his thing,” said Sharks head coach Bob Boughner.