There are two main things going on in the hockey world these days: the World Junior Hockey Championship, and COVID outbreaks continuing among NHL teams.

For the former, Team Finland with Leafs’ prospects Topi Niemelä and Roni Hirvonen played their second game yesterday against Austria. They won in a rout, with Niemelä scoring his first goal of the tournament late in the game while leading Finland in ice time.

Matthew Knies and Team USA will play their second game of the tournament against Switzerland today at 4:30 pm EST.

On the NHL front, there were several more teams adding at least a couple of players to COVID protocol. Even with some of the first players who went on protocol before the holidays now being cleared to return to team activities, this led to more postponements. For the Leafs, they had a few of their forwards come out of protocol but the situation is still dire in net and on defense. How dire? They have an ECHL/AHL defenseman who isn’t even on an NHL contract practicing with them.

For now, three more games were postponed, and three games are still set to happen tomorrow. One of them is Tampa vs. Montreal, but both very recently had several players added to COVID protocol so... we’ll see if that one happens at all.

Maple Leafs take captain John Tavares out of COVID-19 protocol | by Sportsnet. John Tavares joined Alex Kerfoot, Jason Spezza and Wayne Simmonds on a list of Leafs who are now out of COVID protocol.

Can the Leafs continue strong play following the pause? | by TSN

Leafs Prospect Roundup: Knies, Hirvonen, and Niemelä underway at World Juniors, Amirov back in action | by TLN

Kevin Papetti discusses trade deadline needs, impressions on the Maple Leafs’ first 30 games on Sportsnet Tonight | transcript by MLHS


Jared Keeso’s road to ‘Letterkenny’: How an ex-junior hockey ‘grinder’ became a streaming star | by The Athletic

Five ideas to fix Canada’s sagging minor hockey stats, from Colorado to Nova Scotia | by The Athletic

Lawsuit dismissed against Blackhawks in Aldrich case | by Sportsnet

Flyers place Hart, Brassard and Laughton in COVID-19 protocol | by Sportsnet

Predators place Josi, two others in COVID protocol | by TSN

Kraken F Tanev our for season with torn ACL | by TSN