The improbable – yet in hindsight not surprising – thing happened! Both Fraser Minten and Easton Cowan have made Team Canada's World Junior Championship team. Minten is expected to play as the first line centre, while the D+1 Cowan earned a job on the third line left wing after being at the bottom of the depth chart to start selection camp.

Easton Cowan and Fraser Minten are heading to Sweden
Cowan worked through the exhibitions and onto the roster.

Canada only selected 12 forwards to the team in the hopes of getting an NHLer for the tournament. If they fail to do so, they have the opportunity to call someone up to Sweden before the tournament starts. Word is they're hoping to get Zach Benson from Buffalo or Matthew Poitras in Boston. Buffalo is having a poor season and Poitras was recently healthy-scratched.

Mark Masters: Holding out hope for NHL help, Canada leaves one World Juniors roster spot open | TSN
The final Team Canada cuts for this year’s World Juniors squad have been made, but the roster for the 2024 tournament has yet to be finalized as team officials are keeping one forward spot open in case there’s a last-second player loan from an NHL team. Mark Masters has more.

The Canucks are finally retiring the numbers wrapped around the bowl of Rogers Arena, and Roberto Luongo's #1 is going to kick it off tonight.

The Story of Lou: How Canucks teammates describe Roberto Luongo
To plumb Luongo’s character and full impact on the Canucks, from the time of his 2006 trade from the Florida Panthers to his 2014 return to South Florida, we interviewed a half-dozen of his former teammates.

The St. Louis Blues have the second-worst power play of the NHL at 8.4% (I was shocked to see Washington below them at 8.2%). It got their coach, Craig Berube, fired earlier this week, and Brad Richards hired as a consultant.

St. Louis Blues hire former NHL all-star Brad Richards as consultant | TSN
The St. Louis Blues hired former NHL all-star Brad Richards as a consultant, general manager Doug Armstrong announced on Wednesday.

The Wild fired/let go an AGM who came up through the Coyotes organization.

Something something women are too emotional for sports.

I don't think this can be considered a sweepstakes since no one signed Bear in the offseason, but he is healthy now and it sounds like the Capitals are going to sign the offensive defenseman midseason. This story does tell me players do need to be very careful with how they communicate injuries because it can make a big impact on their earnings... OK, unless you're John Klingberg.

Free agent D Ethan Bear expected to sign with Capitals | TSN
Free-agent defenceman Ethan Bear is expected to sign with the Washington Capitals, TSN Hockey Insider Chris Johnston reports.

A look at where the league is trending, what Player Safety is doing, and how the players are reacting. My two cents are I don't like where the vigilante justice is going.

The NHL is caught between two generations of physicality
A lot of attention has been paid to a few rough hits, especially from behind, recently. Justin Bourne writes about why the NHL’s caught between playing styles and how that can elevate risk.

Some insight into the All-Star game and skills competition from Daily Faceoff and Oilers Nation.

NHL announces reimagining for 2024 All-Star Skills Competition
12 players will play in all eight events and introduce a $1 million prize for the winning player.
Connor McDavid helped the NHL plan a competitive Skills Competition for 2024 All-Star Game
<span style=“font-weight: 400”>Connor McDavid isn’t just creative on t…