It is a quick COVID Protocol turnaround for a few Chicago Blackhawks, well at least two of the three. After missing practice yesterday due to compliance with league protocol, Ryan Carpenter and Erik Gustafsson were back on the ice at morning skate today ahead of their game against the Detroit Red Wings. However, remaining absent was star Patrick Kane, who was also among the protocol group yesterday. The Athletic’s Scott Powers has confirmed suspicions, relaying word from the Blackhawks that Carpeneter and Gustafsson have been removed from the COVID Protocol, but Kane has not. There is no word as to why the trio were initially subject nor why Kane remains, but regardless Chicago will get some reinforcements back but could still be missing their best player tonight. Off to a frustrating 0-4-1 start, the Blackhawks can ill afford to be without Kane for very long. Interestingly, head coach Jeremy Colliton stopped short of ruling Kane out against Detroit, but there will have to be a change to his COVID status within a matter of hours.
- Another team missing a Kane is the San Jose Sharks. Last season’s leading scorer, Evander Kane, is serving a 21-game suspension for violating COVID Protocol by using a fake vaccination card. Given all of the controversy surrounding Kane over the past year though, a 21-game absence is unlikely what the Sharks expected to result from multiple investigations. The big winger will in fact be eligible to return to the team before the end of November. So where does San Jose go from here? The team is off to an incredible and unexpected 5-0-0 start and is playing well, perhaps without Kane’s distraction in the locker room. However, they have little recourse to prevent him from returning to the club. TSN’s Chris Johnston reports that the Sharks cannot terminate Kane’s contract due to the lengthy suspension nor can they do so as an internal form of punishment due to the findings that led to his league suspension. The CBA does not allow either form of double punishment and the NHLPA would not let it fly. They would be supported by a recent report from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, which stated the league never considered termination as a punishment for Kane. While the Sharks may be opne to a reunion with Kane, both Johnston and Friedman note that the team’s reaction has been a mixed bag of support and disdain for the situation and Kane’s coaches and teammates have been non-committal about whether or not they want him back. The team has just over a month to decide how to handle his return.
- Interestingly, a former Chicago Blackhawk and a player once linked to the San Jose Sharks was back on the market this week, albeit briefly. Forward Anton Wedin, who spent the 2019-20 season in the Blackhawks organization, terminated his contract with the KHL’s Sibir Novosibirsk earlier this week. This sparked some speculation that perhaps he would return to North America, even if only on an AHL deal. After all, Wedin made the jump from Sweden to Chicago at 26 and played in four NHL games and recorded 17 points in 31 AHL games. It was by no means a poor season. Wedin, who was only on a one-year deal with the Blackhawks, drew some NHL interest in the 2020 off-season, but ultimately decided to say home in Sweden during the pandemic, totaling 16 goals and 30 points in 39 games with HV71 in his best SHL season to date. Wedin’s name did not appear in any NHL rumors this summer and he signed in the KHL, but after just two points in 14 with Sibir he has moved on. Instead of exploring a return overseas though, Wedin will play out the season in the KHL after signing with Dynamo Moscow for the remainder of the year. Still just 28 and with NHL experience and ability, perhaps Wedin could return to the league in the future.