NHL Rumors: Capitals, Red Wings, Canadiens, Canucks

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, Wayne Gretzky has given his vote of confidence to Alex Ovechkin when it comes to the all-time goal-scoring record. Meanwhile, the NHL is thinking about testing only symptomatic players, something Detroit Red Wings’ GM Steve Yzerman seems to be in favor of. The Montreal Canadiens might see games rescheduled so fans can attend, and the Vancouver Canucks are interviewing a number of females for executive positions. Finally, what are the next steps for the NHL after the players pulled out of the Olympics, games need to be rescheduled and there’s concern about how many players are testing positive for COVID.

Gretzky Says Matter of Time Before Ovechkin Breaks Record

Gretzky doesn’t just think Alex Ovechkin can break his goal-scoring record, The Great One believes The Great 8 will. He noted it’s only a matter of time before Ovie eclipses 894 career goals.

Alex Ovechkin Washington Capitals
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

“It’s not even a question that he will pass me, and I think it’s great,” Gretzky told The New York Times’ David Waldstein. Noting Ovechkin will easily hit 40 or 50 this season,”There is no doubt that ultimately, he will break the record,” he said. Gretzky knows Ovechkin has four more seasons after this one to reach the marker and at the pace the Capitals’ winger is maintaining, he should get there easily.

Flames Not Necessarily Out of the Arena Deal

In what has to be a bit of posturing or potential wordplay, Ryan Pike of Flames Nation is reporting that the Calgary Flames are not officially out of the new arena deal as originally reported. It’s certainly possible they don’t go through with it, but at this point, they’ve only said they don’t plan to stick with the deal.

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He pointed out via Twitter, “To be clear: the Flames have NOT terminated the arena deal agreement as of right now. They have declared to the city their INTENTION to terminate the deal.” Friedman writes that this could be the Calgary Mayor twisting words and gaining sympathy by framing it as though the Flames aren’t even willing to renegotiate.

NHL Considering Not Testing Asymptomatic Players?

In his latest 32 Thoughts column, Elliotte Friedman broached the topic of where the NHL goes next after news of the league not going to the Olympics and said there is a push for testing only symptomatic players, much like the NFL and NBA does. Friedman noted, “To a man/woman, every source I spoke to over the last five days said they are well aware testing only symptomatic players (even if vaccinated) is a non-starter with Canada.”  

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Friedman noted that one Canadian team executive’s reaction to the suggestion of having different testing rules for U.S. teams and Canadian teams noted it would be a real issue. Thank you for the competitive disadvantage,” the exec said.

Tyler Wright Steve Yzerman Kris Draper Detroit Red Wings
Tyler Wright, Steve Yzerman and Kris Draper of the Detroit Red Wings, 2019 NHL Draft (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

Detroit Red Wings’ GM Steve Yzerman commented on the situation and said, “Our players are testing positive with very little symptoms if any symptoms at all.” He added:

“I don’t see it as a threat to their health at this point. So, I think you might take it a step further and question why are we even testing for guys that have no symptoms….The players ultimately want to play.”

NHL to Move Games for Canadiens So Fans Can Watch?

According to Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic, the Canadiens might be getting a favor from the NHL so fans can attend their home games. He writes, “If the Habs can’t have any fans at their home games in January (their next home game is Jan. 4), the NHL is looking at the idea of potentially re-scheduling some Habs home games to later in the season when they can (hopefully) have fans in the building. But nothing for sure yet.”

Female GM and Executive Candidates

Friedman also noted, “There is definitely a lot of research being done on female candidates” when it comes to executive positions in the NHL, including the open GM spot in Vancouver. He adds, “Former players, especially. Two out-of-the-box names: Lindsay Artkin, President of the NHL Coaches’ Association, and Kim Weiss, who coaches Maryland in the North American Hockey League.”

Friedman also cited a report by The Globe and Mail’s Gary Mason that Sportsnet panelist Jennifer Botterill, along with Angela Ruggiero and Jayna Hefford were being considered as potential candidates for a position in Vancouver’s front office.

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