It’s go time. Teams are making their final cuts and preparing for the NHL season. The Pittsburgh Penguins final roster could be delayed because of Jake Guentzel’s COVID protocol stay, and wonders about Zach Aston-Reese’s readiness after his 10-day protocol. The Florida Panthers made the first move on the NHL trade market, Washington Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin is out with an injury, and the Vancouver Canucks waived Travis Hamonic.

It looks like COVID is going to be a running story this season. It’s not politics; it should be a common enemy.

Pittsburgh Hockey Now: A few players seized their opportunity in the Pittsburgh Penguins camp (and avoided the WBS Penguins camp). Here are the three players who lived by Carpe Diem and five players who whiffed.  

Mark Friedman had a chance to grab a regular job on the Penguins’ third pair. Bad luck and bad decisions cost him an opportunity to give coaches a good look. 

And the NHL fined Friedman the max for spearing Sean Kuraly. 

NHL Trade, News & National Hockey Now

Vancouver: Travis Hamonic didn’t opt-out of the season. Hasn’t reported to camp. Rumored not to want to get vaccinated. So–the Canucks waived him. 

One thing that makes the Hamonic situation a bit different is that he was in the COVID protocol last season. If he has a natural immunity (and that’s an if), should the NHL make vaccination exceptions for players who had it? The doctors and experts should probably weigh in (not you and me), and one assumes they have.

And if he has natural immunity, does that change other teams’ opinions of him?

Washington: Alex Ovechkin is injured. He’s out day-to-day after he ran an opponent from behind. And–Top Capitals prospect Connor McMichael got a shot on the Capitals top line on Sunday. 

An interesting NHL trade / AHL trade between Florida and Vancouver:

Florida–The Panthers acquired 2016 fifth overall pick Olli Juolevi for Juho Lammikko and Noah Juulsen. The Florida angle on the deal. 

Vancouver: Juolev was on thin ice in Vancouver after he curled into a ball on the ice during Day 1 conditioning drills. Yeah, you don’t that. 

Perhaps we’ll see a few more NHL trade swaps on the eve of the regular season. Some guy named Jack Eichel is still in Buffalo…

TSN: Hamonic wasn’t the only recognizable name on the waiver wire. Madison Bowey, Kyle Turris, and Andrej Sustr were part of a gaggle that included former WBS Penguins fan fav Stefan Noesen. 

NYPost: The New York Rangers made top center Mika Zibanejad a pretty rich man on Sunday. The center cashed in for $68 million…

Colorado: Adrian Dater broke the news late Saturday night (actually Sunday morning), and others confirmed the report on Sunday. The Colorado Avalanche signed Jack Johnson to an NHL contract. 

Our folks in Colorado said he’s been pretty good.

Detroit: If you’re a prospect follower, Detroit is a gold mine. A few more than expected could break camp with the team as injuries have opened a few spots. 

I’ll try to get back to doing the Daily… daily. Believe it or not, I’ve been trying to sleep in preparation for the NHL season and the MASSIVE Hockey Now expansion.

We have extraordinary news which might be delayed a bit by COVID (no, I don’t have it, but someone close to our business does, which has slowed the launch process). But here’s a sneak peek for our loyal PHN folks who lifted this rocket off the launchpad:

Check this out: