There has been a consistent theme this week in hockey. Whether you’re in the NHL, AHL, on Olympic rosters, junior hockey teams, or IIHF tournaments, you can’t escape the reality of quarantine lengths and the constant unease around testing (must be nice to have access to tests). Now, there is a whole conversation about revenue, not just from men’s and women’s hockey, but also around the Canadian NHL teams. Let’s go through it all. It’s exhausting to talk about, but it’s not like there are any games to play and these are the reasons for it.
Men’s U20 WJC
Despite the investment in testing and quarantining time, the men’s U20 WJC has been hit with an outbreak on Team USA. They had to forfeit their game against Switzerland, and all the other teams in their group are on high alert. This outbreak comes days after the women’s WJC was cancelled because the IIHF said it was too dangerous for that tournament to go on. Not a good look.
BREAKING:@usahockey has forfeited their game against @SwissIceHockey due to a a mandated team quarantine following a positive test result of two of its players.— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) December 28, 2021
More at https://t.co/dDceNHvTed#WorldJuniors pic.twitter.com/0WkEUif0m3
Uncle Bob says hope for the best. Aren’t we all.
Sounds like a complicated scenario because it may involve Team 🇺🇸 goaltending. Process now is isolate, test, test, test and hope for the best.— Bobby Margarita (@TSNBobMcKenzie) December 28, 2021
Women’s Olympic Rivalry Series and U18 WJC
Team US players and staff have tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the final tune-up between Canada and the US before the Olympics. With things continuing to get worse, who knows what the rosters could look like.
The final two games of the #RivalrySeries between 🇨🇦 and 🇺🇸, set for Jan. 3 and Jan. 6 in Edmonton and Red Deer, have been cancelled with players and staff in COVID-19 protocol.— Hockey Canada (@HockeyCanada) December 28, 2021
The IIHF present sent out a statement after all the backlash from hockey fans for the cancellation of the women’s U18 WJC. His statement was based on the inability for the tournaments to keep the players safe due to insufficient time in quarantine, and the lack of revenue the tournaments take up. The social media campaign to get the tournament reinstated has since pressured Hockey Canada and USA Hockey to look into hosting that tournament, which was their intention all along. A conversation should also be had about why the women’s U18 tournament generates less than the men’s U20, but that’s a longer-term issue that won’t get fixed before one tournament. The girls on the ice have a second chance to play, that’s all that matters.
IIHF President Luc Tardif sat down with https://t.co/ldDBa42X8a to discuss the January tournament cancellations, including the questions over the cancellation of the U18 #WomensWorldshttps://t.co/aJH8X1R4zL pic.twitter.com/sLv6qsffuS— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) December 29, 2021
The NHL is trying to avoid games with less revenue as Canadian provinces announce capacity restrictions to home games. As a result, nine games have been postponed, including two Leafs games. Games in the US are allowed to go on. The fallout from this is that teams like the Leafs will now have a more condensed schedule to play out the rest of the season. It’s a low blow to the seven teams, and one that probably wouldn’t fly as well in normal times, but hey what’s another postponed game or two on the massive pile that currently exists.
The game between the Detroit Red Wings and New York Islanders at UBS Arena on Wednesday was postponed by the NHL due to COVID-19 concerns. Nine other games were also postponed because of attendance restrictions in certain cities in Canada. https://t.co/wCoPblBiWS— NHL.com (@NHLdotcom) December 28, 2021
Brad Marchand tweeted a notes app statement complaining about taxi squads and the Olympics. Players aren’t going to the Olympics because of quarantine lengths, dude, that may not be your reason, but that was the reason even John Tavares felt the need to speak out about. I get the frustration, and everyone’s overall frustration about the Olympics, but it wasn’t happening even if the NHL wasn’t in a massive outbreak. Taxi Squads aren’t going to do anything to fix that either. Also, Taxi Squad players get their AHL salary, it doesn’t change total salary paid out to NHLers.
December 28, 2021
Various Leafs and Branches
We have been constantly updating Leafs postponements in this post. Up to eight now.
And we have been constantly updating the Leafs healthy roster in this post. I’ll tell you, writing a new article pretty much every day about the same thing got really exhausting.
Here’s a two-goal game for Dmitri Ovchinnikov!
Dima Ovchinnikov two-goal game vs. Orenburg.#LeafsForever | 🎥 #MHL pic.twitter.com/BMJx6V97yb— Dylan Griffing (@GriffingDylan) December 28, 2021
And the Laval Rocket signed Stanley Cup Champion Devante Smith-Pelly.
The Laval Rocket have announced signing Devante Smith-Pelly to a PTO.— Amy Johnson (@FlyersRule) December 28, 2021
Don't miss today's episode of @ThePressZone (out around 5 pm) where me, @AllHabs, & @pwilliamsAHL will take extensively about how taxi squads are impacting the AHL.@RocketSports @hockeypodnet @TheAHLReport
Topi Niemelä has signed a one-year contract extension with Kärpät in the Liiga. He is ripping it up there this year, so no surprise they want him back. He’s 19 right now, and will have just turned 21 at the end of this deal in 2023.
Topi Niemelä on tehnyt vuoden mittaisen jatkosopimuksen Kärppien kanssa. Tällä hetkellä nuorten MM-kisoissa pelaava Niemelä johtaa Liigassa parhaillaan puolustajien pistepörssiä. #Liiga #Kärpät— Liiga (@smliiga) December 29, 2021
Lue Niemelän sopimusuutinen kokonaisuudessaan tästä!👇https://t.co/1qplBjoTH7