On Monday, the Montreal Canadiens became the first team to miss games in the North Division this year, and yesterday Marc Bergevin confirmed that it was due to one player testing positive for COVID-19.  He also confirmed that the particular strain was “a variant of concern” which is one of the most impressively ominous things I’ve ever read in a newspaper article about hockey.

While Bergevin is saying all the confident things about how the Habs will be back in action next week (which, I’m not going to speculate either way, but I would like to point towards the word “variant” in the previous sentence), it’s already been enough to scramble things for the entire division, including the Maple Leafs.

Speaking of COVID-19 protocols, yesterday in the Saga of the Buffalo Sabres, Part Eleventy Million, we had this:

We have moved into the “GM has to come down to the bench and literally coach the team in a pinch” stage of things, which, while I obviously hope for a swift recovery for all affected, is one of the funnier outcomes from this plague-ridden season. What GM would we all like to see coach a game the most? My vote is for Ron Hextall or Jim Benning, for wildly different reasons.

Which NHL GM would you most like to see coach a game because no one else is available?

Kyle Dubas186
Jim Benning51
Ron Hextall126
Marc Bergevin62
Kevin Cheveldayoff12
Other—will describe in comments8


Report: quarantine for players traded to Canadian teams from US to be reduced - PPP
The measure also requires additional testing.

Leafs need overtime and goals from unlikely heroes to beat Senators - PPP
And someone tell Pierre Dorion he has a mess to clean up.

Stuff We Didn’t Write

Connor McDavid. Auston Matthews. Brady Tkachuk? At 21, the Ottawa Senators forward is elbowing his way into the conversation | The Star
Tkachuk is among the NHL’s elite in several significant categories that aren’t as sexy as goals and assists.

Tim Stützle: The Canadian capital′s designated savior is a German | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 25.03.2021
At 19, Tim Stützle is the youngest player in the National Hockey League. The lowly Ottawa Senators are looking to build a highly successful future around the German rookie.

Marc Bergevin says one player tested positive for COVID-19, expects Canadiens will return next week - TSN.ca

Sit Down. Stand Up. - Japers' Rink
A look at how expectations color opinion

Seattle Thunderbirds release two players after racial-taunting incident involving Black teammate | The Seattle Times
The players had been suspended the Thunderbirds’ first two WHL games after team officials investigated a complaint of racial harassment.

Sam Morin Should Stop Being A Thing - Broad Street Hockey
The obsession over the post-hype prospect has led us through a wide range of discourse.

Adam Fox Demands Your Respect - Blueshirt Banter
The 23 year old defenseman has proven himself to be a top defenseman in the league and a legitimate Norris candidate.

Penguins' Kasperi Kapanen week-to-week with lower-body injury
Kasperi Kapanen is the latest Pittsburgh Penguins forward to go down with an injury as head coach Mike Sullivan announced the speedy winger is week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

And let’s watch this one more time....