Days to Opening Night vs. St. Louis Blues: 3 days
After the Tampa Bay Lightning raised the Stanley Cup in late September, the NHL offseason has felt longer than usual with the world around us and the uncertainty of whether the NHL could play on with the 2020/21 season.
Alas, here we are. We are just three days away from opening night, which will see the Lightning raise another Stanley Cup banner versus the Blackhawks, and the late night-cap of the Avalanche hosting the St. Louis Blues. We’ve made it Avs fans, we can finally look forward to the squad hitting the ice at Ball Arena once again.
Speaking of the Blackhawks, former Blackhawk goalie Corey Crawford had already released a statement stating he would be out indefinitely for “personal reasons” playing for the New Jersey Devils this season. Yesterday saw him release another statement, announcing his retirement from the league:
“I have been fortunate to have had a long career playing professional hockey for a living. I wanted to continue my career, but believe I’ve given all I can to the game of hockey, and I have decided that it is time to retire. I would like to thank the New Jersey Devils organization for understanding and supporting my decision. I would like to thank the Chicago Blackhawks organization for giving me the chance to live my childhood dream. I am proud to have been part of winning two Stanley Cups in Chicago. Thank you to all of my teammates and coaches throughout the years. Also, thank you to the fans who make this great game what it is. I am happy and excited to move on to the next chapter of my life with my family.”
Crawford, who played the majority of his career for the Blackhawks leaves the league with two Stanley Cups, a 260-162-53 record with a 0.918 SV%, and a 2.45 GAA. Crawford had an exceptional career and we wish him well in his retirement.
Another former Avs division rival has already felt the weight of COVID hit them, with the Dallas Stars having to cancel practice and postpone their first two games of the season versus the Florida Panthers due to positive cases in the squad. Their first game will be at the earliest, on January 19th.
The following statement has been released by the NHL. pic.twitter.com/aJcwSMX03k— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) January 8, 2021
This will most definitely be the norm this season, with some teams having to deal with COVID throughout the season, so let’s get used to it for now. We have seen it across other sports leagues and the NHL is no exception. The Stars are not the only ones to deal with it so far, as the Penguins have had a similar scenario and the Lightning reversed their plans to have fans at Amalie Arena due to COVID:
The Pittsburgh Penguins have reportedly cancelled Saturday's practice and scrimmage out of an abundance of caution due to potential exposure to COVID-19: https://t.co/rB0k5Hxsrz pic.twitter.com/UcdWEas0Fd— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) January 9, 2021
We will open the 2020-21 season without fans due to concerns caused by the recent rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across Hillsborough County and west central Florida. https://t.co/yPUvDtYOH1— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) January 9, 2021
Luckily, camp for the Avalanche continued yesterday, before it shifts to the ice at Ball Arena which will see hockey for the first time since March 11th, 2020. With yesterday’s camp came a white vs. burgundy scrimmage with a new look for the captain because of it:
I spy burgundy pants and gloves https://t.co/fHuzb0LjdC— Mile High Hockey (@MileHighHockey) January 9, 2021
Finally, one of the final big names in free agency fell with Matt Barzal signing a three year extension with the New York Islanders, which is sure to make Islanders fans happy:
Mathew Barzal re-signs a 3-year deal with the New York Islanders for $21M. pic.twitter.com/1jRVtxLQSr— TSN (@TSN_Sports) January 9, 2021
Happy Sunday Avs fans! We have finally made it to game week, stay safe and enjoy the last weekend without Avs hockey!