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From the Branches: It’s World Juniors Eve

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I guess something else is on the calendar tomorrow, too.

Decorating Christmas tree in Moscow Kremlin Photo by Gavriil Grigorov\TASS via Getty Images

It’s Christmas Eve, which means we’re only one day away from the official start of World Juniors and, consequently, meaningful hockey. Last night, Team Canada beat Team Russia 1-0, giving us our first look at the Russian Maple Leafs prospects—forwards Rodion Amirov and Mikhail Abramov, and goalie Artur Akhtyamov.

The NHL also announced its schedule for the 2021 season, and the Maple Leafs are opening things against the Habs, because of course we fucking are. I’ve looked at the schedule and already concluded that this is going to foster a sense of inter-team enmity like nothing we’ve ever seen before. For the first time, I think I’m going to have some strong feelings about the Vancouver Canucks. By the end of this season, every NHL fanbase in Canada is going to secede to form its own city-state like this is medieval Italy.

ICYMI

Maple Leafs 2021 schedule released - Pension Plan Puppets
Guess who the opening night game is against?

Winter Top 25 Under 25: You know who is 4th and 5th - Pension Plan Puppets
It’s an epic battle that ended in a near tie. No, not that pair of players, the other pair.

Stuff We Didn’t Write

Mittelstadt agrees to a one year deal with the Sabres - Die By The Blade
Casey Mittelstadt was the final restricted free agent for the Sabres to sign before camp next week

Nikita Kucherov is officially out for the season - Raw Charge
General Manager Julien BriseBois announced that the all-star will be undergoing hip surgery.

St. Louis Blues' Alexander Steen discusses retirement | ksdk.com
The 15-year NHL veteran spoke for the first time since the Blues announced his retirement from the NHL last week.

David Pastrnak donated his All-Star Game car to Kaitlin Hagstrom, a Tufts nurse - Stanley Cup of Chowder
Nice guy, that David Pastrnak.

Six bold predictions for the NHL's Canadian division
The Canadian Division is full of teams with lots to prove and an opportunity to break through to the Stanley Cup semifinal. It should also bring us a playoff atmosphere every night. With so many competitive teams and rivalries involved, we present six bold predictions for the northern-most division.

Canucks' taxi squad could be vitally important and exceedingly young
The Vancouver Canucks are staring at a border wall more formidable and imposing than anything you’ll find on the Rio Grande. As a Canadian NHL team with a farm team in the United States, the Canucks head towards the season at a distinct disadvantage.

Blackhawks F Nylander could miss season after knee surgery | The Star
Chicago Blackhawks forward Alex Nylander could miss the entire 2021 season because of a left knee injury.

Veteran forward Michael Frolik signs one-year contract with Montreal Canadiens | The Star
MONTREAL - The Montreal Canadiens have signed forward Michael Frolik to a one-year, US$750,000 contract.

Predators bring back Mikael Granlund on 1-year contract | The Star
NASHVILLE - The Nashville Predators have signed forward Mikael Granlund to a one-year, $3.75 million contract, bringing him back to the team that trad...

Tampa Bay Lightning re-sign Alexander Volkov and Mathieu Joseph - Raw Charge
The two forwards will compete for spots on the roster this season.

Nashville Predators sign Erik Haula to a one-year, $1.75 million deal - On the Forecheck
David Poile continues to make moves to shore up the scoring depth as training camp approaches.

NHL will be aggressive in trying new initiatives amid hunt to grow revenues
In the hunt to grow revenues as COVID vaccines are distributed through North America, the NHL is going to be aggressive in trying new things including advertisements on helmets and virtual on-ice advertisements.

Former Penguin defenseman Deryk Engelland announces retirement from the NHL - PensBurgh
Engelland spent 8 years with the Penguins organization.