The second wave of the COVID-19 has been sweeping the globe and it is setting new record highs in positive cases in North America. It has reared its ugly head at Canada’s World Junior Championship selection camp is heading into quarantine after two players have tested positive. Meanwhile in Russia, two recent first-round draft picks, who cooled off after hot starts in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), both found their way back on the score sheet.
Team Canada Goes into Quarantine
The host for the 2021 World Junior Championship is having all kinds of issues trying to stay clear of the COVID-19 pandemic. First, Ottawa Senators draft pick Ridly Greig tested positive before the selection camp began.
Just before the puck dropped on their first intrasquad game, news broke that two “non-core members” of the team had tested positive for COVID-19. On Tuesday, their third scrimmage was canceled after two players also had tests come back positive.
Things went from bad to worse on Wednesday evening as the entire camp is off for two weeks as all players, coaches and staff go into a 14-day quarantine.
“Hockey Canada has confirmed that all players, coaches and staff are considered close contacts and are therefore subject to the mandatory 14-day quarantine period under Alberta Health Services,” said senior vice-president of national teams, Scott Salmond, in an official statement.
“Upon learning of the positive tests on Monday, the decision was made to suspend all camp activities and quarantine players and staff immediately. As per Hockey Canada’s safety protocols, all players, coaches and staff members will go through additional testing before resuming any camp activities.”
The quarantine is retroactive to last Monday, so all activities will be paused until Dec. 6. The tournament is scheduled to begin on Dec. 26.
Chinakhov Finds His Scoring Touch
The Columbus Blue Jackets made the most surprising picks of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft when they used the 21st overall pick to select Russian forward Yegor Chinakhov. Heading into the draft, he was predicted to go very late in the draft like the fifth round or later, but the Blue Jackets jumped on him very early.
Chinakhov got his KHL season, for HC Avangard Omsk, off to a hot start by scoring in bunches early. However, he had gone six straight games without a goal entering Thursday’s game Amur Khabarovsk. He found his way back on the score sheet with this goal.
He also added an assist in Omsk’s 4-2 victory. He now has eight goals and 15 points in 27 games this season.
Kravtsov’s Beautiful Set Up
Vitaly Kravtsov had a bit of a disappointing first season in North America. After being selected by the New York Rangers with the ninth overall pick of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, he had just six goals and 15 points in 39 American Hockey League (AHL) games with the Hartford Wolf Pack.
He was loaned to HC Traktor Chelyabinsk in the KHL for the 2020-21 season and he has regained the offensive flair that made him a top-10 pick. It took him just 11 games to match his total from the AHL last season. Heading into Thursday’s game versus Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg, he was averaging 0.50 points per game.
Kravtsov played his part in a 4-3 overtime win by setting up former Vegas Golden Knight, Tomas Hyka, with this slick feed.
This was Traktor’s 18th win in 26 games this season. With the helper, Kravtsov now eight goals and 12 points in 23 games. His start got Rangers fans excited, but he has cooled off a bit over the past few weeks. There is little doubt that the talent is there, but all involved are still waiting for it to show up on a more consistent basis.
All stats provided by Hockey InStat.
Greg Boysen has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks since 2010 and has been a site manager for both FanSided and SB Nation. He has been published in The Hockey News and was fully credentialed for the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. Among his various roles with The Hockey Writers are covering the Blackhawks, the AHL, writing the daily “Today in Hockey History” column, serving as a copy editor, and appearing and hosting multiple YouTube shows, including Blackhawks Banter. He is credentialed with the Chicago Wolves, Rockford IceHogs, and Milwaukee Admirals, while also being a regional scout for the NAHL. And, just because his plate isn’t full enough, Greg hosts trivia in the Chicago area two nights a week. For interview requests or to provide topic suggestions, follow Greg on Twitter and reach out.