Life is busy. Sometimes, a quick catch-up does a lot of good.
Here's the news and notes from the last week that might have slipped through the cracks.
No Go, Jake
Jakub Voracek was the sole nominee from the Columbus Blue Jackets for the NHL's 'Last Man In' fan vote for the league's All-Star Game coming up February 5th. The winners for each division were announced Tuesday and unfortunately, Voracek didn't make it. Forward Mike Zibanejad won the fan vote, but opted out of the game citing personal reasons. Another Jake — the Pittsburgh Penguins' Jake Guentzel — was the runner-up in the vote, and will take Zibanejad's place in the game. Defenseman Zach Werenski will be the only Blue Jacket in next month's All-Star Game.
Johnson On Team Canada
Michigan's Kent Johnson, the Blue Jackets fifth overall draft pick in last year's NHL draft, is one of the more exciting prospects to come through the organization in several years. He's having a fantastic sophomore season at with the Wolverines, tallying six goals and 23 assists through 21 games. Now, it seems like he'll have the opportunity to dazzle at the next level: The Winter Olympics.
Johnson, along with Michigan teammate (and first overall pick in the draft) Owen Power, is expected to be named to Team Canada when the official roster is revealed later this week. As a result of the NHL's COVID-19 concerns, NHL players are not permitted to participate in the games, opening the stage for players like Johnson to showcase their skills against their toughest competition to date.
The Olympics begin February 4th, but the first chance to check out Johnson and Team Canada will be Thursday, February 10th, at 8:10 a.m. eastern time when they play Team Germany. That game will overlap with Team USA's debut on the men's side, against China. Looking for something a little later? The United States and Canada face each other in the team's second games of the Olympics, which is slated for an 11:10 p.m. eastern start Friday, February 10th.
Tyler Angle's goal Tuesday night for the Cleveland Monsters was nasty for all the right reasons — it even made the SportsCenter Top 10, checking in at #3.
That. Is. A. Thing. Of. Beauty. It would be tough to name a sweeter goal in Monsters' hockey history, and that probably won't change anytime soon.
Streaming Option Coming To Bally?
Sinclair — the parent company of the Bally Sports Regional networks — have recently become more vocal with their plans to offer a streaming service in the near future. The group plans to launch a streaming service later in the year, has signed deals with both the NHL and NBA to offer in-market streaming for 16 NBA teams and 12 NHL teams, including the Blue Jackets. One potential hold up to the streaming service, critics say, is the lack of MLB rights. Analysts say a subscription service to a Bally Sports streaming service could be upwards of $200 annually. If a streaming service is launched, 5th Liners could expect to pay $15-$20 per month to watch every Blue Jackets game live.
Four players are currently in the leagues' COVID-19 protocol: Voracek, Cole Sillinger, Vladislav Gavrikov, and Adam Boqvist. It's possible, though unlikely, that Voracek returns for Thursday's at Philadelphia. That's an important game for Voracek, who spent a decade with the Flyers. Friday (versus Pittsburgh) or Sunday (vs. Ottawa) seem more realistic for his return. Those also seem like a likely return game for Sillinger, who entered the protocol Saturday. Sillinger is not eligible to return Thursday.
For Gavrikov and Boqvist, the wait may be a little longer. Both entered the protocol Monday, meaning they will not be able to return before the weekend. Sunday is the earliest return date for both; if they are not in the lineup by then, the next game is Wednesday, January 26th against the Calgary Flames — provided neither player has symptoms, they'll assuredly be back by then.