More Postponements, Fleury in COVID Protocol, Commesso Leads U.S. To Victory, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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More Postponements, Fleury in COVID Protocol, Commesso Leads U.S. To Victory, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

I hope you all enjoyed the NHL Christmas Holiday break. We are back to it with the seemingly never-ending COVID protocol shuffle.

•   The Blackhawks and Blue Jackets were supposed to play tomorrow night. That is no longer the case.

•   With the end of the Holiday break, the league returned to COVID testing and thus returned to adding players, coaches, and even referees to the league’s COVID protocol list.

•   This is from last night, and is already out of date.

•   A more updated number…

•   Now you can add Marc-André Fleury to the list of NHL players to land in COVID protocol. The Blackhawks get Calvin de Haan back, though, and have recalled Collin Delia.

•   Delia spent much of last season on the Chicago Taxi Squad, which is going to make a comeback this season. At least through the NHL All-Star break, that is.

•   Maybe the NHL needs to adopt a Taxi Squad for referees as former ref Tim Peel tells us that at least 15 officials are in COVID protocol as well.

•   We’ve known for a little while now that NHL participation in the Olympics has been out the door. The league’s biggest star, Connor McDavid, spoke about missing out on the tournament again, and made a case for finding some way to have a best-on-best tournament every year. Hint, hint: the World Cup of Hockey.

•   It’s not just the NHL dealing with COVID. The Rockford IceHogs in the AHL also returned to practice and are dealing with a number of COVID positive cases now, including interim head coach Anders Sorensen.

•   Their game tonight against the Iowa Wild has now been postponed as well.

•   YEESH.

•   IN prospect news, the Blackhawks prospects at the World Junior Championships had a solid Day One. Team USA houses three of the four prospects at the tournament, with Wyatt Kaiser and Landon Slaggert connections on the U.S. 3-0 goal in the second period of their opening game last night.

•   That 3-0 goal would end up being the game-winner for the U.S. after the Slovakian team were able to score two goals to push the U.S. in the latter stages of the game. But it was Blackhawks goaltending prospect Drew Commesso coming up big for Team USA, making 23 of 25 saves to solidify their opening night win.

•   Commesso was named the player of the game for Team USA for his efforts.

•   Aside from replacing the offensive spark from last year’s Gold Medal-winning team, questions about Commesso in net for the U.S. loomed large coming into the tournament. With a solid first effort last night, it appears those questions might have been answered.

•   The U.S. are back in action on Tuesday night as they take on Switzerland.

•   For Team Canada, it was a 6-3 rout of the Czechia team that was started early in the first period with a goal from Mason McTavish with an incredible individual effort.

•   The Czechs, without Blackhawks prospect Michael Krutil (suspension from last year), made it a game though the second period, but 2021 top-overall pick Owen Power “powered” the Canadians with a hat-trick effort.

•   Power’s hat-trick is the first-ever for Team Canada at the World Junior Championships by a defenseman. That’s incredible when you think about how many times Canada has blown-out a team at the tournament and how many elite-level and Hall of Fame defensemen have played for the Canadians.

•   Canada is back in action on Tuesday when they face Austria.

•   Speaking of elite-level Canadians, a Happy 40th Birthday to former three-time Stanley Cup Champion with the Blackhawks and Olympic Gold Medalist, Patrick Sharp!

•   Cubs fans are in the middle of a will-they-won’t-they rumor hunt:

•   That will do it for today. Hope you all enjoy your Monday.



Author: Mario Tirabassi

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