Alex Ovechkin and Ilya Kovalchuk went head-to-head, with Kovalchuk's SKA squad pulling out a 3-1 win. Ovi collected his first goal, while Kovalchuk had an assist. Maxim Afinogenov came up with the winner. See the write-up directly on the KHL site.
Ovechkin has 18 shots through his first two games with a goal and an assist. Apparently in this one he was on the ice for 23:56 and skated 19 shifts, which puts his average shift length at 1:24. Good to see Russia supports the concept of free-range cattle. #moo
The NHL is trying to ramp up efforts to get its side of things out there now, after clearly falling behind early on in the PR battle against the NHLPA. Bill Daly spoke with The Tampa Bay Times and he basically wants more movement from the players' side. He feels the league has made compromises already.
"What we've had a lack of is any degree of compromise or movement from the players association. They've really made one proposal, and they haven't moved off the one proposal. And in any negotiation, it's not really a negotiation if one side is making all the proposals and the other side is just waiting until they get what they want."
Erik Cole is hoping to be cleared to skate next week. The gist of a story from The Montreal Gazette is Cole hit the gym only a few weeks after the conclusion of last season because he was pretty peeved at how it ended. Can’t blame the guy. But he probably didn’t allow his body enough time to recover the physical pounding he took.
After seeing team doctors, he was told this undisclosed lower-body injury would be good to go after six to eight weeks of rehab. But it lingered all summer. So this extra time from the lockout should only help him be ready for the start of the season, whenever that comes.
He was so good for poolies last year too. He shot up to 35 goals from 26 the year prior, with the same 26-assist total extending him to 61 points. That also marked back-to-back campaigns with all 82 games played. Expecting another 35 goals would really be pushing it, but he can still be a helpful mid-level winger in most situations.
Funny note in that Gazette piece, too. Cole, who is able to use the team’s facilities since he was hurt before the lockout began, hasn’t yet been asked by his teammates to shoplift any rolls of tape or sticks of gum from team inventory.
“Not yet, anyway,” he joked. “But we’re only a week into this.”
CSNWashington.com relays that once Michal Neuvirth left for the Czech League earlier in the week, the Caps didn’t have a goalie for their daily practice sessions. So Brooks Laich picked up the phone and nabbed Brent Johnson, who lives within a few blocks of the rink.
Johnson is one of several unrestricted free agents who will be looking for NHL work once the lockout finally ends. He wasn’t re-upped by the Pittsburgh Penguins after last season and the team went with veteran starter Tomas Vokoun to back-up Marc-Andre Fleury.
Johnson said he’s hoping the lockout does not signal the end of his playing career.
“I’m up in the air,” he said. “We’ll see what happens if and when everything starts up. Yeah, I’m concerned, but at my age you start looking at the future and what you’re going to do next. Lockout or not, I still would have been in the same spot.”
His peripherals weren’t great last season, but the one before that he was a good spot-start option. Whenever this season begins, Vokoun should be an even stronger play on what stands to be another lethal Penguins team.
Ex-NHLer J.P. Dumont was bought out by the Preds last year and played for Bern in the Swiss League. The Nashville Tennessean indicates he still hopes to latch on with an NHL team when the lockout ends.
“My only goal right now is to work my (butt) off, and when it starts over and a team needs an experienced player, I can fill that role,” Dumont said.
Coach Barry Trotz said Dumont was a ‘tremendous pro’ and ‘it always was about the team with J.P.’, although it remains to be seen if Dumont has enough game left to be of help in fantasy were he to land an NHL deal again at some point. He had 31 points in 31 games overseas.
Mark Messier was at a fundraiser in Edmonton and had former Calgary Flames player Jim Peplinski there. Beauty quote from him.
“The most amazing thing to me that in all those years of Calgary versus Edmonton nobody was seriously injured. For 10 years there were very few players I didn’t try to kill on the Oilers,” said Peplinski.
Some good points in The Edmonton Sun article about what the Oilers and Flames meant to each other back in the glory days.
If you’d like to see the full list of Los Angeles Kings names that’ll be on the Stanley Cup, The Times has it.
One of the small beacons of light for the team during the lockout is a little more time to rest after that short summer. Plus, hopefully Jonathan Quick will be 100 percent from his back surgery.
With the recent news of more NHLers potentially being eligible now to play in Sweden, the stories have been churning about Erik Karlsson looking into returning to Frolunda. Insurance costs seem to be the biggest hurdle so far.
If you were doing a single season standard league (with a base of the usual six categories of goals, assists, plus-minus, power play points, penalty minutes and shots) draft today, who would be your first pick when it comes time to choosing a blueliner?
I ask because I spent part of last week moving rankings into the Sportsnet.ca publishing tool and Karlsson is not my No. 1 rearguard.
Gabriel Landeskog told The Denver Post he will not be playing in the AHL this season. He wouldn’t say whether it was his choice, the Avs’, or a mutual decision. He’ll stay in Denver until at least the middle of next month and will continue his search for a new house. After that, depending on how things look on the lockout front, the speculation would have him returning to Sweden. We’ll see. Regardless, he is one of a million reasons hockey fans can’t wait for this ridiculous situation to be over.
We’ve certainly heard opinions from many players when it comes to the lockout and some have tried to appeal to fans.
Dan Boyle was asked by The San Jose Mercury News if he runs into people in the community who ask him about the issues or offer their own opinions.
“The biggest thing I tell them . . . but people compare their own salaries, their own 9-to-5 jobs. And it was the same last time,” Boyle said, referring to the lost season of 2004-05. “Greedy, rich millionaire hockey players – ‘I’d play for one tenth of that or it’d take me 30 years to make that much.’
“I just tell people you can’t compare apples and oranges. I don’t compare my salary to Tom Cruise when he makes $20 million per movie. It’s just kind of the way it works,” he continued.
“Is it fair for a doctor or surgeon who saves lives every day to be making less than a hockey player or a basketball player or a movie star?,” Boyle asked. “It’s not fair. But that’s the way it is.”
Then he added: “Most people have been supportive.”
Boyle barely slipped below the 50-point mark last year (9-39-48) after five straight seasons of surpassing it, not counting his ’07-8 campaign of 25 points in only 37 games. He remains one of the better all-around producers, despite having turned 36 this summer.
Todd Fedoruk has had his challenges on and off the ice, but the former player has been earning a few extra bucks lately running drills for the Philadelphia Flyers players who are still in town.
Good read, going over his fight with demons over the years. Realistic quote near the end.
“It’s coming down to the wire where I have to put in an application to the real world,” said Fedoruk, who had 32 goals, 97 points and 1,050 penalty minutes over 545 NHL games from 2000-10 with the Flyers, Anaheim, Flyers again, Dallas, Minnesota, Phoenix and Tampa Bay. “I don’t have $20 million. Trust me, I was compensated well playing hockey, but I don’t have a lot left.
“I want to stay around hockey because I feel I have a lot to give with my experience in the game, but eventually you’ve got to let go and start bringing in some money.”
Incidentally, Fedoruk mentions how eye-opening the whole Derek Boogaard tragedy was for him.
Boogaard’s family also happens to be in the news, with a report they are suing the NHLPA for $4.8 million remaining on his contract with the New York Rangers and also $5 million in punitive damages.
TMZ first had it and The New York Times writes that his parents say the union, after initial discussions with them after Boogaard’s death, did not meet a deadline to file a grievance seeking the final three years of his Rangers salary.
The Miami Herald notes Kris Versteeg, who had hip surgery shortly after last season, skated on his own Friday. He said he has done light skating about six times since the surgery. He is expected to be ready to play in November.
“I’m starting to feel OK, getting my movement back,” Versteeg said.
The forward will be looking to build on last year’s 54-point effort, which was one better than his rookie total of 53. He, Stephen Weiss and Tomas Fleischmann were so effective for the Panthers last season. Peter Mueller will be a new name on the team set to make some noise this time around after signing as a free agent in July.
Michael Frolik inked a lockout deal with HC Chomutov of the Czech League on Saturday. He’s the first Hawk to head overseas, although a number of them have said they’ll consider it if the work stoppage goes awhile.
Speaking of Chicago, The Sun-Times points out how some have argued that the European exodus shows the union isn’t truly together. But Hawks winger Patrick Kane doesn’t see it that way.
‘‘We can’t all go over as one big team. That would be impossible,’’ said Kane, who has talked with his agent about playing in Sweden, Switzerland or Russia. ‘‘Everyone wants to play hockey. When there is no league over here, sometimes you have to explore different options and go overseas. I think a lot of players are doing that just because they want to play hockey.’’
Tyler Ennis, who was the subject of a write-up in last Sunday’s Ramblings, is going to play for Langnau of the Swiss league.
The bonus for him is that his agent got a package deal with the team for Ennis and Jared Spurgeon of the Minnesota Wild. They’re best friends and grew up together on the same Edmonton street.
"I wanted to play with a buddy, and my agent just went out and got me and Spurge a nice little spot in Langnau, so I'm pretty excited," Ennis said. "All I can say is that I hope ends as quick as possible, but for now I'm looking forward to trying to improve my game with the Langnau Tigers and try and improve at center."
They’re just words, sure, but it’s surely nice to read that his focus is still not only trying to improve his game, but also specifically on working on his mindset as a centre.
There has been and will continue to be significant financial fallout from the lockout. Michigan Live reports that with no Detroit Red Wings training camp, the Traverse City area and Centre I.C.E. are feeling the effects.
“We figure between the NHL prospects tournament, the golf outing and training camp, it brings between $3 million and $5 million to our community in a two-week period,'' Centre I.C.E. executive director Terry Marchand said. “At Centre I.C.E., we get hit the hardest, but everyone in the community gets hit.
“Traverse City is a nice, touristy area. At this time of the year, it's a nice shot in the arm for our community.''
And oh yeah... on the subject of those same Wings. In case you missed it, Senior Vice President and Alternate Governor Jim Devellano dared to share his opinion on things about which he’s not supposed to share his opinion –according to NHL rules - in an interview with Island Sports News.
Fantastic answers. If you haven’t already, it’s 100 percent worth a read. The NHL, as expected, slapped him with a fine.
The main takeaway from the interview in media circles seems to be the infamous ‘cattle’ comment, but the entire series of answers make for some phenomenal reading; whether you agree with any or all of it. Or... none of it.
Devellano gives some insight into Gary Bettman, he slams HNIC’s Ron McLean, touches on the ‘unwritten rule’ of not tendering offer sheets to another team’s RFAs and why players ought to think twice about bolting overseas during the lockout.
Jimmy D’s comments prompted this Saturday afternoon tweet:
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