The Columbus Blue Jackets will get to see Jack Roslovic in action on Thursday evening against the Florida Panthers but are still waiting on Patrik Laine to even show up on the COVID Protocol Absences List, let alone the roster. Laine remains in Canada for the time being, though Aaron Portzline of The Athletic reported this morning that the forward is in Ottawa now finishing paperwork with the U.S. consolute to acquire his work visa. Once all of the paperwork is finished, Laine is expected to take a private charter to Columbus, where he’ll enter the protocol. It could be as short as 48 hours, though that is not a guarantee at this point.
It will be interesting to see where Laine fits in once he does clear the protocol, especially after a very up-and-down start to the season for Columbus. The team has scored 18 goals in seven games, but also given up 22. The only reason they are leading the Central Division at the moment is that several other teams have only played three games, as the 2-2-3 Blue Jackets’ record isn’t really something to be excited about. Laine of course was dealing with a minor injury before the trade to Columbus and now hasn’t played since January 14.
- Pittsburgh Penguins CEO David Morehouse spoke to Greg Wyshynski of ESPN and explained that the team is not heading into a rebuilding phase now that Jim Rutherford has resigned as GM. In fact, Morehouse doubled down on the “win-now” phrase and explained that the team will look for a new GM that will “come in and continue having us work towards winning another Cup.” The Penguins still have Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, which is usually good enough for any front office to believe they can win the Stanley Cup.
- The St. Louis Blues will be the fifth NHL team to allow fans into their building this season, announcing that 1,400 spectators will be allowed into Enterprise Center for their games beginning on February 2. Those will be in addition to the limited amount of frontline workers that had already been attending. The Blues credit the success of local and NHL safety protocols during the initial homestands this season as the reason for increasing capacity. As Sean Shapiro of The Athletic reports, The Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers, Arizona Coyotes and Nashville Predators have also allowed a certain number of fans into their arenas.