Yesterday was a very busy day around the NHL. With the Colorado Avalanche still on delay thanks to COVID-19, why not take a quick look at everything that happened? Maybe the most notable news for Avs fans was old foe Mikko Koivu deciding to hang up the skates. Koivu finishes his career with 1035 games played, 206 goals, 505 assist for 711 points. The bulk of that coming with the Minnesota Wild as he spent 15 seasons with them after being drafted in 2001, sixth overall.
Avs fans have seen Koivu a lot over the years. He also played 59 playoff games with the Wild, scoring 11 goals and 17 assists for 28 points. Overall, a great career for the Finnish forward. It’s unfortunate he couldn’t finish the season. However, he only played in seven of the Columbus Blue Jackets 14 games this season, tallying just one goal and one assist. In his prime, Koivu was a 50-60 point player who could help dominate possession. A key part of the Minnesota Wild franchise, Av fans will no doubt have different memories of Koivu.
Other Notes From Around the League
In other news, more games have had to be unfortunately cancelled. It is now the Philadelphia Flyers that are dealing with a COVID outbreak. Their game against the Washington Capitals got postponed yesterday. Philly was next expected to play Thursday and Saturday, but those games were also postponed thanks to the New Jersey Devils current outbreak. Things are getting messy, one has to wonder how many more teams need to get infected before the league starts to consider even a temporary shutdown to get things under control.
However, the NBA dealt with some similar issues early on and seemed to have battled through them. Although, part of their cancellations came from contact tracing and not full-blown outbreaks all the time. It will be very interesting to see how the league approaches things.
Penguins Make a Splash
In other news, the Pittsburgh Penguins hired Ron Hextall as their new general manager and Brian Burke is taking over as president of hockey operations. Hextall’s last GM job was with the Flyers and he still often gets credit for building a good portion of the team they have today. Burke is coming out of the studio where for the past few seasons, he has been one of Sportsnet's lead analysts. Many had believed there was a chance they were grooming him for a Don Cherry type role. However, it appears that at least for now that he wants to get back into the front office side of things.
It will be interesting to see where the duo takes things. Old GM Jim Rutherford apparently had a falling out with ownership in Pittsburgh. Some rumours suggested he may have wanted to rebuild and others disagreed. Because Burke has been on TV almost every night for over a year, just about every take is out there to pull from. A few months back he was quoted saying that he feels Rutherford may have no choice to rebuild. So, it will be interesting to see if the Pens, a team that has constantly been a Stanley Cup threat, really do decide to take a step back.
Girard on COVID List
Finally, we wrap things up with some Avs news. Sam Girard has been added to the league's COVID list. He now joins Jost and Landeskog as Avalanche players on the list. Currently, the Avs are slated to be back in action Sunday against the Vegas Golden Knights.
However, we will have to see if the spread is stopped by then. The two teams are supposed to face off four straight times, they do have a gap between Tuesday and Saturday’s games, so one may wonder that if Sunday’s game does get moved if it might get put to Thursday. However, let’s hope for a clean bill of health for everyone here, the safety of the players should be the most important thing after all.
UPDATE: after Tuesday’s game, Vegas quickly cancelled their practice for Wednesday morning.
Tomáš Nosek was pulled from the game before the third period and there is worry that it was due to COIVID protocol. If there is another outbreak with Vegas, the Avs may be off for longer than expected.