While it was an off day for the Habs, one of many in the near future, there was still some news of note on Monday, highlighted by another player being placed in COVID protocol.
Hoffman to COVID Protocol
It has been a tough first year with the Habs for Mike Hoffman. He was injured in offseason training and that issue with his knee cost him all of training camp and the first three games of the season. A month after returning, he suffered an upper-body injury that took him out for nine games. And now, for the trifecta of bad news in 2021 for him, he’s on the COVID list, meaning he’s out for the next 10 days.
The Canadiens currently have five players on the list, the others being Artturi Lehkonen, Laurent Dauphin, Brendan Gallagher, and Sami Niku. The last two are eligible to return but as of yet, they haven’t been activated. Notably, while Cedric Paquette was quarantining on Sunday, he hasn’t been placed on the list.
The Habs brought up Alex Belzile, Rafael Harvey-Pinard, and Lukas Vejdemo on Sunday but haven’t returned them to Laval yet. That could be in part because if other Montreal players have to enter protocol, they’ll be needed on the NHL roster to stay in compliance with roster minimums.
While the Canadiens announced on Sunday that they were closing down their facilities through December 26th, the NHL decided that needed to be reiterated on Monday as they announced the same while also postponing the two Columbus games this week. Players won’t be permitted to use the practice facility but will still need to go through testing.
Montreal won’t have a big contingent of prospects at the World Juniors this season but they will have at least one captain as Kaiden Guhle will lead Canada’s entry into the tournament with Jake Neighbours and Cole Perfetti serving as alternates. Guhle is the lone returning defenceman from last year’s squad.
While it technically hasn’t been announced yet, there’s a good chance that Jan Mysak will serve as the captain for the Czech Republic as well. He held the captaincy for them in last year’s tournament.
Some of the pre-tournament games have been postponed already. Each team was to play at least two but now, there is a two-day window for exhibition games where each team will only play once on either Thursday or Friday before the tournament officially gets underway on Sunday.