Another day, another controversial story. At this point, societal lines are drawn, castle drawbridges raised, and moats filled, but teams are taking a hard stance that mirrors the steadfast refusal of the few anti-vax players. Travis Hamonic is the latest to surprise his team, and the drama will linger on the NHL trade market, too. A new study of NHL games shows that the Pittsburgh Penguins win when they fight. Head coach Mike Sullivan offered his assessment of a few Penguins prospects, good and maybe not as good, and San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane is facing yet another investigation.
Is that three, four, or five investigations into Kane since the summer? I’ve lost count.
Let’s start with the Pittsburgh Penguins. We had two free stories yesterday regarding the Penguins prospects.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Head coach Mike Sullivan offered some tepid praise, praise, and a compliment to one of his defenseman prospects that I didn’t quite know how to read. From P.O. Joseph to Nathan Legare and Cam Lee–Mike Sullivan’s assessment of their first preseason performance.
Sam Poulin and Legare are friends who have played on the same hockey teams since they were toothy kids in grade school. They’re competing with each other now for the precious few Pittsburgh Penguins opportunities but pushing each other to achieve it, too.
The Penguins sent Justin Almeida and Jan Drozg back to the WBS Penguins camp. I liked Almeida in the scrimmage. I’m not sure why so many media watchers are high on Drozg. The Penguins are not, and he remains closer to the Wheeling roster than the Penguins four years after being drafted.
NHL Trade Chatter, News
Vancouver: First the story–Travis Hamonic was to report to Vancouver Canucks camp last week. But…he no-showed, and the prevailing assumption is it is anti-vax related. The Canucks team policy requires it. He has until Friday to opt-out. Sources say the Canucks quickly put him on the NHL trade block.
The Canucks and GM Jim Benning are left holding an empty bag, and it’s not right, writes Rob Simpson. The Canucks are the victims here.
The Hockey News: Adam Proteau thinks the Eichel situation will last until the March 12 NHL Trade deadline.
Not sure I agree–by then, Eichel wouldn’t be able to play in the playoffs?
TSN: RIDICULOUS LACK OF PENALTY. After a fight this weekend in the Ukrainian Hockey League, one of the players made an overt and over-the-top racist gesture. I thought about posting the video, but there was no point. It was a level 10 racist gesture. The IIHF handed down the penalty on Wednesday morning: Three games. THREE (BLEEPING) GAMES AND A FINE?!
Embarrassing, IIHF. The subject of the racist taunt, Jalen Smereck, was a bit rattled by it. He already left the league to await the punishment. Hopefully, Smereck gets a contract somewhere else. Good grief. Three games??? Hopefully, those with power will enact some change within that organization.
San Jose: Sheng Peng’s wrap-up of the latest Evander Kane investigation–did he break the NHL’s COVID protocol?
Washington: The Capitals have a new top line? Ovechkin-Kuznetsov-Mantha. And updates on Lars Eller and Nick Backstrom, too.
NYI: Where is Semyon Varlamov? The goalie is hurt, but it was said not seriously. However, he hasn’t yet been seen in Islanders camp.
Philly: The Philadelphia Flyers newbies and newcomers were pretty good. So, too, was Carter Hart in their preseason opener.
National Hockey Now
Boston: It looks like the Boston Bruins are finding their replacement for David Krejci. Jack Studnicka said he wanted the job, and it looks like he’s winning it.
Florida: The Florida Panthers are the team that can beat the Tampa Bay Lightning. Their final roster is already coming into view.
Detroit: Troy Stecher was a bargain UFA signee last offseason. Could his success at the Worlds catapult him to a more significant role with the Detroit Red Wings?
Colorado: Nazem Kadri missed the crucial Round Two series vs. Vegas due to suspension. The gritty center is trying to move on and move forward. Trying.
Vegas: The Vegas Golden Knights kids were pretty good on Tuesday night. Pretty, pretty good. Even though Colorado defenseman (trigger warning) Jack Johnson scored a goal to tie the game, the Golden Knights prevailed.
Alrighty… Since Hamonic is the top story, here’s this.
Take it for what you will: I found this to be the best answer I’ve seen–from experts in the field–to the question, “If you’re vaccinated, why does it matter if I am?” Slowing the transmission, so we control the pandemic is their answer. Perhaps if governments handled the pandemic differently, there wouldn’t be such an emotional backlash to the solution, but here we are:
Ad nauseum: You need to decrease incidence for a protective immunity threshold to function. https://t.co/8pS1Fzn2KR
— Brian Wasik (@BrianRWasik) September 28, 2021