Brandon Tanev, the man they call Turbo and Seattle Kraken’s most popular player, will have to miss the rest of the season to heal up after suffering a knee injury on Dec. 18. The Pittsburgh Penguins returned to practice Monday as Evgeni Malkin, and Bryan Rust were full-contact and full-go participants. As Kris Letang responded to a query from PHN about COVID protocols, he seemed to signal a growing openness to adopt looser testing for vaccinated players. Still, he stopped short of openly calling for it, unlike Vancouver’s Tyler Myers. Also, the Vancouver Canucks apparently have permission to speak with Penguins AGM Patrik Allvin about their open GM gig.
And, did we mention Evgeni Malkin was playing the LW in practice? Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan dumped ice-cold water on the long-term possibility, but it still makes great sense to this guy. Perhaps I’ll dive into it…or not waste my breath.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Malkin did take the LW at practice, but the big headline was he and Bryan Rust were full-go, full participants. And, we have video of Sidney Crosby centering Bryan Rust and Evgeni Malkin.
Jason Zucker is out week-to-week, the Penguins added five to COVID protocol, including Tristan Jarry and more. The total Penguins injury update.
Kris Letang said the NFL and NBA COVID policies were working. As the NHLPA rep, he seemed ready to push the NHL in that direction, too, but stopped short. Instead, he said, “we have to find a way to do our job.” As I was completing the story on Monday evening, the CDC cut the quarantine period for asymptomatic persons from 10 days to five. The comments with a just hint of frustration from Kris Letang make a worthy read.
NHL News & National Hockey Now
Vancouver Hockey Now: Our man Rob Simpson slipped a little note in his Canucks Christmas wishlist. Patrik Allvin apparently has permission to speak with the new President of Hockey Ops, Jim Rutherford, and the Vancouver Canucks.
Seattle 710: Brandon Tanev suffered a knee injury on Dec. 18. On Monday, the Kraken announced that Tanev, their most popular player, is out of the year.
Sportsnet: The Penguins don’t appear to have a great rooting interest in the World Juniors. Even on Day 2, neither of their goalie prospects (Calle Clang, Joel Blomqvist) played. But you can 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.
Did not see that one coming!
NYI: A tear may have formed in your eye as you watched the Islanders struggle this season. Whether being shut out by the Pittsburgh Penguins or having their lunch eaten by the rest of the NHL, they’ve been a bad team. However, as our new beat writer, Stefen Rosner, writes–the extended holiday break has been COVID-Alt-Delete for the New York Islanders.
Headline of the year, right there: COVID-Alt-Delete?! Brilliant. Though he lost points when he described the inspiration, “my Dad is in computers, so I learned that trick growing up.” Stefen has been a hard-charging writer from the drop. He brings good insights, too. Make sure to follow Stefen for complete Isles coverage.
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.
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.
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.
Vegas: Our RMU star covering Vegas took some initiative. The NHL has games to make up and a giant hole in February. What games can the Vegas Golden Knights make up at T-Mobile?
The Pittsburgh Penguins practice, at home, again this morning. Shelly Anderson and I will have full coverage.