NHL COVID-19 Protocols, Players Heading Back To Olympics, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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NHL COVID-19 Protocols, Players Heading Back To Olympics, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

How’s your Friday going so far? I’d say pretty good considering the news this morning regarding the NHL and the upcoming 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

•   🎶 The boys are back in town! 🎶

•   It’ll have been eight years since we last saw NHL players in the Winter Olympics when the puck drops in Beijing in February, but having the world’s best men’s hockey players playing on the biggest stage outside of the Stanley Cup Final is what is best for the league and the game world-wide.

•   Now, of course, we cannot forget that we are still living through a pandemic, and there are opt-outs for the NHL to not send players to the Olympics. If COVID gets worse in China ahead of the Winter Olympics, or if the league has been forced to cancel or reschedule too many games during the season leading up to the All-Star/Olympic Break, then the league has the option to pull their participation. That decision would need to be made by January.

•   The league is not going to mess around this season with COVID either. The NHL’s protocols for vaccinated and unvaccinated players were released yesterday and it is clear that the league does not want to play around with the potential for lost games/lost revenue.

•   If suspensions, the potential for lost salary, being a liability to your teammates, and basically living in your hotel room all season isn’t enough for unvaccinated players to get the shots, then I’m not sure what to tell you.

•   Yesterday, front office changes within the Blackhawks organization were reported by Jon Greenberg and Scott Powers of The Athletic. One of the changes reported was the addition of Dominik Zrim to the Blackhawks as the new Manager of Hockey Strategy. Zrim is coming to the Blackhawks from the legendary CapFriendly website, a site that he was a co-founder of…

•   This addition is an amazing move by the Blackhawks, a team that is lacking when it comes to being forward-thinking in terms of how the “new” NHL operates. Having Zrim on board should allow for the Blackhawks to have better roster and financial management moving forward. Two things that Chicago has been known for, for the wrong reasons, in the past.

•   Speaking of CapFriendly, new information was released yesterday regarding Connor Murphy’s new contract with the Blackhawks that he signed earlier this week.

•   What? Like you didn’t expect his deal to come with a no-trade clause of some kind?

•   A double Blackhawks Birthday celebration today for Stanley Cup winners Cristobal Huet and Michal Rozsíval!

•   From former Blackhawks to current Blackhawks, the Nylander brothers enjoyed one last dinner together before they headed out to their NHL homes for the 2021-22 season…

•   Speaking of Alex Nylander, the Buffalo Sabres signed defenseman Henri Jokiharju to a new three-year deal yesterday.

•   You’ll remember Jokiharju as the former 2017 first-round pick by the Blackhawks that was traded one-for-one for Nylander ahead of the 2019-20 season. Just, you know, for a refresher.

•   And from current and former Blackhawks to future Blackhawks, 2021 second-round draft pick Colton Dach is in town as rookie camp and training camp start later this month. He took in last night’s Cubs game from some pretty nice seats…


•   Wonder if he stayed the whole game to see the incredibly dumb way that the Cubs were able to win in extra innings over the Pirates. Like, of course the Pirates would lose a game like that.

•   In other news around the NHL, the Arizona Coyotes might have a route to staying in Arizona after the team’s lease with the City of Glendale is set to expire at the end of the 2021-22 season…

•   Good news for the Coyotes faithful in Arizona. For now at least.

•   That will do it for today. Hope you all have a great TGIF Friday!

•   Oh, in case you thought I forgot…The 2021 Blackhawks Prospect Pyramid is coming THIS WEEKEND! Be on the lookout.

Author: Mario Tirabassi

Mario Tirabassi is a writer for Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Mario_Tirabassi.