Brother battles are always intriguing in the NHL. When the league announced its players wouldn’t go to the Olympics, we lost out on a potentially stellar teaming of the Tkachuk brothers, with Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk and brother Brady likely to help anchor Team USA. And now Brandon Tanev will miss the rest of the season after suffering a knee injury on Dec. 18. He and brother Chris Tanev, a Calgary Flames defenceman, were set to go head-to-head in Seattle on Thursday.
Even with all the uncertainty around the COVID situation, the Flames are ramping up with a couple of days of practice before Thursday’s game. If it goes ahead, they’ll face former captain Mark Giordano for the first time in the regular season.
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Florida: It looks like the Florida Panthers will be getting back their captain Alexander Barkov as soon as their next game. “I think he looks ready to go,” Panthers interim head coach Andrew Brunette said.
NYI: The New York Islanders will be taking advantage of the return of the NHL’s Taxi Squad system as they have assigned five players to their squad.
Detroit: Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin states that he would have gone to the 2022 Winter Olympic Games if he had the chance.
Vancouver: Fans are hoping that new coach Bruce Boudreau will be able to figure out how to get the most out of the talented but puzzling Nils Höglander, who gave his predecessor fits of frustration.
Seattle 710: Calgary Flames defenceman Chris Tanev’s brother, Brandon Tanev, suffered a knee injury on Dec. 18. On Monday, the Kraken announced their most popular player is out of the year. Tough break for Turbo and the Kraken.
Sportsnet: Calgary Flames fans have a rooting interest in the World Juniors with Matthew Coronato. Follow the WJC tournament here.
Boston: Which rentals should the Boston Bruins target? Our scribe in Boston, James Murphy, went through the list and used an exclamation point when he got to Phil Kessel. Yes, Murphy writes, the Bruins should look to Kessel on the NHL trade market.
Wouldn’t that be something?
Pittsburgh: There is video of Sidney Crosby centering Bryan Rust and Evgeni Malkin. The league is better when Malkin and Crosby are both playing. But an even more interesting read comes through the words of Kris Letang, who said the NFL and NBA COVID policies were working. As Pittsburgh’s NHLPA rep, he seemed ready to push the NHL in that direction, but stopped short. Instead, he said, “we have to find a way to do our job.”
Washington: The Penguins closed to within four points of the Metro lead, but on Monday, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Nick Backstrom returned to Washington Capitals practice.
Detroit: It’s still a wound that’s raw for many players. Losing the Olympics was a tough blow. Steve Stamkos lamented it. Another star would have gone regardless of the risks. Detroit Red Wings star Dylan Larkin was all-in.
Florida: The Panthers got seven players back from protocol, then lost four. However, the ring leader, the show stopper, Sasha Barkov, is back for the Florida Panthers.