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Morning Flurries: Nathan MacKinnon is back and the NHL changes course

Nathan MacKinnon (along with P-E Bellemare and Devon Toews) returned to practice highlights a busy news day.

San Jose Sharks v Colorado Avalanche Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images

With the week about at it’s close, Colorado Avalanche hockey rapidly approaches its resumption. With a game on the schedule for Sunday against the Vegas Golden Knights, today’s good news on the roster front is proving timely. That good news is the return of Nathan MacKinnon, Pierre-Eduoard Bellemare and Devon Toews to the ice for practice on Thursday.

The return of these three will give coach Jared Bednar the ability to return to close to standard forward lines and defense pairings for Sunday’s return to action. The returns leave Pavel Francouz (lower body), Matt Calvert (upper body) and Erik Johnson (upper body) sidelined with injury and Gabriel Landeskog, Tyson Jost and Samuel Girard remaining in the league’s COVID protocol heading into the weekend.

While the Avalanche remain short-handed, the returns of Bellemare, Toews and especially MacKinnon give Colorado a much better outlook in the two game set with Vegas. Ideally the secondary scoring that carried the team through the Minnesota series will continue and only be bolstered by the returning players.

MacKinnon made headlines yesterday for more than just his return to practice. The Avalanche’s superstar center was announced as a member of the Gatorade roster of athletes. The sports-drink company has long been allied with the best and brightest in the world of sports, so it’s good to see MacKinnon getting his due as one of the elite athletes in the world.

Shifting focus from the Avalanche to the league as a whole; new protocols were put in place by the league to combat the outbreaks that have postponed over 40 games already this season.

These new regulations are being put in place to curb the outbreaks that currently has six teams’ schedules delayed. For a further breakdown of the action taken by the league, read here.

In a continuation of a story found yesterday in the flurries, the Black Girl Hockey Club has teamed up with the Seattle Kraken NHL expansion franchise to create exclusive beanies. These beanies will have 100% of net proceeds going to the BGHC scholarship program.

It’s good to see the expansion franchise get a jump on some positive influence early. The sport needs to take even more steps to improve the diversity and inclusivity of hockey. Props to the Kraken for putting the focus on inclusion early in their life cycle.

Shifting to youth hockey, Team USA and the Dallas Stars will be hosting the under-18 World Championships in 2021. The tournament will take place from April 26 to May 6 in Frisco, Texas. Sweden currently holds the top seed thanks to their 2019 tournament victory, with Russia, USA and Canada rounding out the top four.

With the success of the World Juniors tournament this year, this event should attract a lot of attention from scouts and the general hockey public alike.

Finally, this goalie took “always be prepared” lightly, but reacted just in time to become an internet legend.

Amazing reflexes!

Have a great day and #GoAvsGo!