A report surfaced Sunday from Tim Panaccio that sources told CSNPhilly.com Flyers winger Jakub Voracek had suffered a bad knee injury over the weekend in Europe. Within an hour or so Voracek's agent, Petr Svoboda told Panaccio his client has a knee sprain and will miss one week. Whew. Could have been much worse as a huge blow to both the Flyers and poolies if this had been a really severe thing.
He’s averaging a point-per-game early on in the KHL and is poised to finally have that long-awaited breakthrough season when the NHL finally resumed play. Flyers coach Peter Laviolette has him slated to begin the campaign in Jaromir Jagr’s old slot beside Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell, which should be just what the doctor ordered to vault Voracek past that 50-point plateau.
Three weeks ago I included him in a Sportsnet.ca piece on guys who should exceed their fall fantasy draft positions. Ostensibly it’s an article on sleepers, but it starts off with a bit of a rant of why ‘sleeper’ is really a misleading term. Anyway, if you didn’t catch it when it was first released it’ll give you a short-term fantasy fix while we impatiently wait for the CBA to be settled.
As mentioned in the blog at the time too, Brayden Schenn would be a great L1 W fit should Voracek not be able to fill the spot for whatever reason. Schenn is, at this point, otherwise likely to start with Danny Briere and Wayne Simmonds on the second line. There's really no reason to think Voracek won't be a great fit with Giroux.
Alex Ovechkin recorded another goal and an assist in a win for Dynamo Moscow today, bringing his totals to 3-5-8 in seven affairs. #Caps (See his PPG blast below)
Matias Strozyk tweeted that Ondrej Pavelec's Liberec suffered a 6-2 loss vs. Pardubice. Pavelec came in at 2-0 (7:28) and went 30/34. He's now 0-5-0, .859, 4.63.
Mikael Granlund. #rockstar
Four goals and an assist tonight in the Oklahoma City exhibition, playing on a line with Charlie Coyle (2-2-4) and Jason Zucker (0-2-2). In wake of Granlund's dominance,
#Aeros announce complimentary drool bibs for remaining home games during #NHL lockout. #MNWild
Malcolm Subban had 2.50/ .923 splits last season with Belleville and was a first round selection of the Boston Bruins. So far this year, through five starts, he's doing even better. With a win Saturday night, he moves to a 3-2 mark with a 2.18 GAA and .929 SV%.
Habs prospect Alex Galchenyuk was averaging a point-per-game for Sarnia through his first five outings, but his four-pointer Saturday bolsters his cause even more.
mounD - just for you - another pair of goals for 2012 12th overall pick Mikhail Grigorenko and his undefeated Remparts Saturday. 6-10-16 in seven affairs, so he has picked up right where he left off when he blew past opposing defences for 40-45-85 in 59 GP in his rookie season in the Q.
Reinforcing ‘Canadian kookiness about hockey’ has quickly become a candidate for favourite weekend quote.
The New York Post spoke with ex-Rangers’ GM Neil Smith. He believes what a number of people have since said - that NHL Commissioner Bettman’s first lockout spoiled the NHL’s best chance to overtake the NBA as No. 3 among major sports.
“We were in a great era and this was unthinkable that we would lose games. The NBA was not at its best at the time. We had a real opportunity to gain ground from the No. 4 spot we’d always been, to claw away at becoming No. 3,” Smith said. “We had gotten, as a sport, so much momentum in the summer of ’94. The No. 1 reason was the Rangers winning the Stanley Cup in the biggest market after such a long drought. That pushed interest in hockey.
“We were in an era where we had exciting teams in big, big markets. New York, Chicago had been to the finals and won a  Presidents’ Trophy, Mario Lemieux was in his prime, Pittsburgh was a great franchise, and the L.A. Kings and Wayne Gretzky had gone to the  finals against Montreal, which ignited interest in hockey on the West Coast, when also, the Canadiens won a championship which reinforced Canadian kookiness about hockey.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt that the air got let out of the balloon by the lockout. It’s undeniable that the lockout of ’94 lessened hockey’s chance of climbing the ladder.’’
If you missed it Friday night, The Globe and Mail spoke exclusively with Bettman. The interview naturally covers a wide array of pertinent lockout-related topics, but it also delves into the importance of the Olympics. Bettman said he doesn’t view that as a bargaining chip for either side. He sees that more as ‘problem-solving’ and ‘working together to figure out the right solution.’
Free agency opens on July 1 each summer, but a highly-coveted hockey exec recently hit the open market in John Davidson. He tells The St. Louis Post-Dispatch the remaining term on his contract, at three years and around $6 million, ‘was the issue, there's no question’ when it came to new owner Tom Stillman. Just business. No hard feelings.
"I haven't got the faintest idea," he said when asked of his next move. "The phone can ring ... I'm listening. I just got to make sure that whatever it is, it's a good situation. We'll see, I don't know.”
He tells The Columbus Dispatch he doesn’t rule out working with The Blue Jackets.
“If (my next stop) is Columbus,” Davidson said, “I can tell you this: that hockey club is better than the one we took over in St. Louis. That club was way, way down the ladder. But this Blue Jackets team is not that far away. There are some pieces there to work with, absolutely. They’ve got some real players there, boy.”
There have also been heavy rumours involving the Calgary Flames.
Whoever lands this guy will be getting one of the smartest hockey minds around. He won’t be acquired inexpensively, but he’ll absolutely be a value-added asset for his next franchise.
The Montreal Gazette relays that Carey Price, Josh Gorges and Colby Armstrong dropped by AL Creations & Collections in Boisbriand on Saturday afternoon for an appearance.
Price said that should the lockout drag on, he could see himself going home to B.C. for a couple of weeks. He’s pleased with his conditioning as it now stands and is well aware that European teams aren’t necessarily looking for half-season goaltenders – assuming the lockout doesn’t stretch beyond that.
His projected value for ’12-13 has been a little hard to nail down with all of the changes the Habs made organizationally. He’s currently slotted right around the middle of my list for starters, give or take a few rungs. The talent is there to be higher, but with goaltending especially that supporting cast is a crucial element. At this point I’m just not comfortable moving him any higher.
Centre Kyle Turris agreed to a deal with Oulun Karpat in the Finnish Elite League Saturday, according to The Ottawa Sun. While teammate Erik Karlsson signed a monthly contract with Jokerit, Turris’ deal is different. He is committed to play with Karpat for the rest of the season unless the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association sign a new CBA.
Turris had 12-17-29 in 49 GP with the Sens, including a four-game stretch near the end of the season where he posted a pair of two-point efforts and also had a four-point outing.
The 23-year-old should continue to see his career blossom in Ottawa as a second-line pivot behind Jason Spezza, especially with Daniel Alfredsson expected to reprise his role as a wing on that unit. I’d love to see Guillaume Latendresse with an extended shot opposite Alfredsson.
One of the positive traits we can learn from athletes, generally speaking, is the single-minded focus they strive for in order to get their job done. They usually have a knack for blocking off outside distractions. Such is the situation in which Marlies goaltender Ben Scrivens finds himself, with the lure of a possible NHL back-up job just a signed CBA away from his reach.
He was asked by The National Post about his personal goals for ’12-13.
“It’s tough to say,” Scrivens said Friday. “Especially with the lockout going on right now, you kind of have to readjust. “I don’t think about [the Leafs’ job] really at all. Maybe I thought about it during the summer, when there’s not much else to do … [But] the day that the lockout ends, whenever that is, that’s when I’ll start thinking about what could potentially happen or what is going to happen.”
He’s currently slated to back up James Reimer for the Leafs, although there’s still every chance GM Brian Burke could pull the trigger on a trade. He could just as easily sign one of several UFA veteran goaltenders available, which wouldn’t cost a roster asset.
There was more than a little build up over the summer when college defenceman Justin Schultz narrowed down his choices of NHL teams for which he wanted to play. He told The Edmonton Journal he’s using his time with the Barons now, during the lockout, to get acclimatized to the difference between the NCAA and the AHL. That should aid in his transition to the NHL.
Goaltender Yann Danis said he can tell from watching Schultz that the rearguard is a ‘skilled player’ and that he has ‘lived up to’ the hype so far.
Schultz and Ryan Whitney should be primed to load the first unit power play gun for the arsenal of young Oilers stars up front, which should make each defenceman a worthwhile option for poolies in any format when the season finally gets underway. Whether Whitney can stay healthy or not is another question altogether, but when it comes to Schultz – he’ll be in a position to succeed and that’s all you can ask for in the beginning.
Success in professional sports is often about a sense of commitment from an individual player as much as anything else and The Winnipeg Sun indicates St. John’s IceCaps defenceman Julian Melchiori paid the price with Gary Roberts’ gruelling workouts over the summer. The result was slimming down from 221 pounds to 210, while also going for quicker feet to adapt from the junior to pro game transition. The organizational brass seems impressed with the improvements, so good on him for digging in and getting it done. He had 2-17-19 in 35 games with Kitchener and then another 0-17-17 in 26 contests once he was traded to Oshawa.
Zemgus Girgensons is one of just two 18-year-olds set to play in the AHL this season, according to The Buffalo News. He was the 14th overall pick in the entry draft after playing two seasons with Dubuque in the USHL and his Amerks teammates already love his work ethic and his in-your-face play.
Deeper keeper leagues owners who have the luxury of farm teams will be particularly drawn to his standard league attractiveness, which is accented by the physicality of his game. He’s also a natural centre, but is learning the AHL game on the left wing for the time being. It’s not uncommon at all for that shift to happen early on in a player’s career and all it will do is give him both time to learn a new league while providing him and the team with more versatility now and down the line.
My doctor, incidentally, told me that adding more calcium to my diet would clear up that lingering case of ZemgusGirgensons within a month.
If you live in the Philly area and are looking for something Flyers-related to do, there will soon be some more options on the horizon. The Inquirer reports Xfinity Live Philadelphia, the restaurant/bar/entertainment complex that opened March 30 and is down the street from the Wells Fargo Center, is planning some events on what would have been Flyers game days.
Plans include showing the HBO documentary Broad Street Bullies and Flyers trivia quiz nights that offer prizes to winners. They’re also looking into having Flyers coaches do a chalk talk and having Flyers alumni visit.
The good news is they don’t plan any layoffs during the lockout, but it would certainly help them and every other hockey-aided business for these clowns to get this CBA figured out.
Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nate Thompson grew up in Anchorage, Alaska watching the Aces, so he told The Tampa Bay Times it’s extra-special for him to go back there to play for however long the lockout lasts.
"For me it's important. I grew up here, and it's a pretty tight-knit community, especially the hockey community. Maybe I can help a young guy on the way while I'm doing this.”
Scott Gomez, who is practicing but not playing with the Aces, offered this: "It makes it fun again. You appreciate where you're at. And like I told Nate, the people back in Alaska, you can't put into words how appreciative they are for the local boys to give back to the community. You find the love again."
If you’re just itching to get a poolie fix while we wait for the NHL to begin, you may want to consider starting a movie death league. The New York Post relays that a British newspaper did a tally and James Bond has knocked off 352 dastardly villains in service of the queen. Most impressive is his 16 kills-per-flick ratio, including the legendary extermination of 47 ruthless souls in GoldenEye.
Daniel Craig, who is, IMO, a pretty solid 007, has actually brought the eradications-per-picture rate down with only 27 slayings in his two films. Will he improve on that number? Yes. Call it a hunch.
He should make for an excellent sleeper pick when Skyfall lands in theatres November 9. Can’t wait.
An unguarded Alex Ovechkin on the power play is translated the same in Russian as it is in English: Goal.
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