January continues to move with a ton of news from around the NHL. Here are three more stories from the first week of 2022:
Winnipeg Jets won’t play in Saskatoon
Provincial attendance restrictions mean it’s impossible to play games in the Canadian home market in front of a full audience. Because of the omicron variant, teams are forced to play at half capacity in empty arenas, or in the Winnipeg Jets’ case, in front of 250 fans.
Sportsnet’s Elliott Friedman first broke down the idea of the Jets playing in Saskatoon after emailing season ticket holders. Friedman later reported that the deal would not happen, giving Saskatchewan fans false hope.
It’s not surprising to hear a team try to find a way to play in front of more fans without having to move to the U.S., but the odds of a team playing in neutral venue Canada Stadium without capacity constraints are very low.
Trevor Zegras’ aerial pass finally faces proper defense
Trevor Zegras’ creativity appears to be finally facing opposition.
The flashy forward tried again to flip the puck over the net for a flashy assist in Anaheim’s game against the New York Rangers on Saturday, but the Rangers were ready to stop him.
With the team now knocking the puck down, it will be interesting to see what Zegrass comes up with as his next amazing offense to offset the defense.
New York Islanders enter the world of esports
The NHL has become more involved in the league-level gaming world with the NHL 22 tournament. Last week, the New York Islanders became one of the few teams in the league to launch their own gaming vertical and gaming team.
The club announced the formation of the Isles GT, which features six professional players who will compete in 1-on-1 and 6-on-6 NHL 22 events.
Leagues like the NBA and MLS already have league-wide branded esports competitions with multiple franchises. As Islanders forays into building their own branded team, it’s possible to see other teams likely to follow suit.