With the NHL now in Phase 2 of its return to play program, players in some markets are starting to gather at team facilities.
That's not the case in Vancouver, where the ice remains out at Rogers Arena and just a handful of players are in town.
But while strict access protocols are in place for official Phase 2 facilities, rules are looser for players who are skating informally. Jay Janower of Global News caught Chris Tanev (and Milan Lucic) on the ice on Monday.
Another Tanev note — his agent is now in damage-control mode after Tanev acknowledged that the free-agent market is going to be tough to navigate this summer in the conversation with Iain MacIntyre of Sportsnet that I referenced in my blog last weekend.
According to TSN1040
, Rick Dhaliwal "says reports of Chris Tanev being willing to take a one-year deal are incorrect. “Misquoted”."
In that same tweet, TSN1040 has Dhaliwal saying that Nikita Tryamkin is looking for somewhere in the neighbourhood of $2-3 million to return to Vancouver on a one-year deal, but salary-cap uncertainty is preventing Jim Benning from making a move.
A decision on Tryamkin will need to be made fairly soon. KHL signings are already in full swing, as their regular season normally begins on September 1, with training camps opening in late July or early August. As much as it sounds like he's eager to come back to North America, I wonder if he'd turn down a KHL contract if Benning doesn't come forward soon with something concrete.
And speaking of Russia — I thought Dhaliwal's most interesting tidbits over the last few days came from Igor Larionov, who has signed on to coach Russia's entry at the 20201 World Junior Championship.
Canucks prospect Vasili Podkolzin turns 19 later this month, so he'll be eligible for his third World Junior tournament this winter. He'll get a chance to see if he can earn a gold medal to go along with his silver from the 2020 tournament and his bronze from 2019 — and Larionov says Podkolzin could end up being captain of the Russian squad.
Now this is a comment that's sure to raise the hackles of some Canucks fans, but I'm pretty sure Larionov means it as a compliment — more about his determination and bulldozing playing style than some of those....other...characteristics...
Considering Podkolzin's two-year commitment to SKA St. Petersburg was seen as a bit of a deterrent when he was drafted last June, at this point it looks like it won't be a bad thing for the skilled right winger to spend one more year in his homeland.
Larionov even took the time to praise a player that we might get to see next season, whenever that turns out to be — Nils Hoglander.
Hoglander will turn 20 on December 20, so he's 12 days too old to skate for Sweden again this year.
The 2021 World Junior Championship is scheduled for Edmonton and Red Deer, between December 26, 2020 and January 5, 2021. I assume we're still many months away from knowing whether that tournament can go ahead as planned and if it does, what kind of fan and media presence will be permitted.
Final Canucks note for today — on Tuesday, the Professional Hockey Writers' Association announced its 31 team nominees for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, "awarded annually to the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey."
For the second consecutive year, Jacob Markstrom is the Vancouver chapter's nominee, following a season where he had to deal with his father's cancer diagnosis and subsequent passing. Despite his challenges, Markstrom hit a new career high with a .918 save percentage on his way to a 23-16-4 record. The Canucks will likely go only as far as Markstrom can take them in the playoffs this year.
Here is the full list of nominees. Plenty of players here have also dealt with serious personal hardship, on top of the Covid-19 challenges that have affected us all.
To wrap up — you may not be aware of this, but the NHL Coaches' Association is holding its annual clinic virtually, this week.
Normally a one-day affair that's held on the Thursday before draft weekend, this year the clinic has gone online, with three sessions a day all this week.
I spoke to the president of the association about how this change of plans has worked out, and was interested to learn more about how the association has increased its visibility and its mandate in recent years.
Here's my story on that: