There is still hope for the season to resume in the NHL starting December 28. But the enemy remains the same with COVID-19 and the increase in positive cases due to the Omicron variant.
On Boxing Day, the Canadians took a training break. There was only one activity in the program: testing for all players, coaches and team members.
Unless there’s a last-minute turnaround, Dominique Ducharme will jump on the ice at Broussard’s training complex on Monday morning for the first practice session since the morning of December 16, when the team’s last game is. That evening, CH had signed a rare 3-to-2 win in a shootout against the Philadelphia Flyers at a completely deserted Bell post.
After morning training, Habs plans to fly to Tampa. According to the schedule, there are three meetings in the southern United States with duels against lightning (December 28), hurricanes (December 30) and panthers (January 1).
“As per my understanding, the scheduled matches will now take place,” New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoreello said.
Lamoreello, who is considered the godfather of NHL GMs, made the statement during a conference call with colleagues in New York.
“The NHL cannot control government rules, whether in Canada or within certain provinces,” he continued. All the NHL can do is respond to the various restrictions. I think the NHL is doing everything it can to maintain good communication with governments.”
Two guards on the sidelines
On her first stop in a three-meeting trip, CH will meet a team that has lost a few soldiers to the coronavirus.
Lightning has listed goalkeepers Andrei Vasilevskiy and Brian Elliott, defender Mikhail Sergachev and quarterback Pierre-Édouard Bellemare on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol. Rob Zettler, assistant coach, will also be sidelined for the next 10 days. Zeitler suffered the same fate as John Cooper, also on this famous list.
At Camp Habs, Artturi Lehkonen, Mike Hoffman and Laurent Dauphin will not be making the trip because of this damn virus.
Sportsnet’s Elliot Friedman has received information that the NHL captains will bring back the concept of a reserve team (taxi squad). In order to combat the explosion of positive COVID-19 cases, the 32 NHL teams will have the opportunity to add six players to a reserve squad.
This rule will remain in effect until the All-Star Break in early February.
There will be other rule changes to help teams continue the season in a challenging environment.
Teams that risk not being able to count on at least two goalkeepers, six defenders and twelve strikers can achieve emergency recalls, provided the recalled players earn a salary of $1 million or less.
Few games have been postponed
Late in the evening, the NHL announced that three more games had been cancelled. This is the duel between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Chicago Blackhawks on December 28, and the following day between the Pittsburgh Penguins against the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Boston Bruins against the Ottawa Senators.
- Andrei Vasilevsky: goalkeeper
- Brian Elliott: Jardines
- Mikhail Sergechev: Defender
- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare: Center
- John Cooper: Head Coach
- Rob Zettler: Assistant
- Mike Hoffman: Eller
- Laurent Dauphin: Center
- Artturi Lehkonen: Ailier
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