In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Calgary Flames are going to see a handful of games postponed due to so many players being entered into COVID-19 protocol. Meanwhile, the Montreal Canadiens are bringing back a legend to help the team make its next big hire. Alex Pietrangelo of the Vegas Golden Knights is unsure if he wants to participate in the Olympics. Finally, how long had the Vancouver Canucks been talking to Jim Rutherford?
Flames Have Three Games Moved
At a minimum, the next three games for the Calgary Flames are being postponed after six players and one staff member entered the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol in the last 24 hours. Among the names affected are Elias Lindholm, Andrew Mangiapane, Adam Ruzicka, Chris Tanev, and Nikita Zadorov.
This makes the Flames the third team this season to have games postponed due to COVID, the New York Islanders and Ottawa Senators being the first two. The salary cap could be part of the decision to postpone games as the Flames have less than $1 million in space to make recalls.
Canadiens Bring Back Legend to Help Find Next GM
The Montreal Canadiens have put together a committee that will be given the task of hiring the team’s next general manager. That committee includes owner and president Geoff Molson, new executive vice president Jeff Gorton, Canadiens’ minority owner Michael Andlauer, and Montreal great and former GM Bob Gainey.
This is not the first time the Canadiens have done something like this. When Molson was looking to find a new GM to replace Pierre Gauthier in 2012, he brought in former GM Serge Savard to help with that decision, and Marc Bergevin was hired. Interestingly, Savard said after he helped get Bergevin hired, the team rarely spoke to him again and he believes Bergevin shut him out.
He wrote in his biography, Serge Savard: Forever Canadien, that Molson said he wanted to keep him on as a consultant but Bergevin didn’t.
“I don’t think they want the (old) players around,” Savard said last year. “Probably Bergevin didn’t want me around. I didn’t hire him, but I can tell you if I was against him, he would never have got that job.”source – ‘Bob Gainey will help Canadiens in search for new GM: report’ – Montreal Gazette – Stu Cowan – 12/06/2021
Pietrangelo Not Sure About Olympic Participation
It was mentioned in the 32 Thoughts segment during Saturday’s NHL action that some members of Team Canada weren’t sure if they’d still want to attend the Olympics given the amount of time a player must quarantine in Beijing if they tested positive for COVID-19. No names were mentioned but David Schoen of the Las Vegas-Review Journal notes that Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo is one of the players who are now uncertain about participation.
After the International Olympic Committee confirmed a three-to-five-week quarantine period Pietrangelo is concerned about his young family or risk being away that long. He explained:
“I’ve got four kids that are under the age of 3½. For me to be potentially locked up there for five weeks plus the Olympics, that’s a long time being away from my family. I’m not going to make a decision until we get all the answers, because those are kind of hard to come by right now. So, we’re all kind of sitting and waiting.”source – ‘Knights’ star defenseman uncertain if he will play in Olympics’ – Las Vegas Review Journal – David Schoen – 12/12/2021
Canucks Had Been Talking to Rutherford for Awhile
According to Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic, it turns out Francesco Aquilini had been talking to Jim Rutherford for a bit about the situation in Vancouver to pick his brain. What started out as simple conversations developed into something much bigger.
Rutherford was hired after Bruce Boudreau but was part of the decision to hire him. LeBrun added:
But what’s probably also likely, although Aquilini didn’t say so, is that the Boudreau hire didn’t happen without a picking of the brain and/or unofficial green light from Rutherford even though the latter wasn’t hired yet. It sounds like the Rutherford hire needed a bit more time than Boudreau is all.source – ‘LeBrun: Francesco Aquilini speaks out on firings, hirings and where the Canucks go from here’ – Pierre LeBrun – The Athletic – 12/13/2021
Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”