Watch Alex Ovechkin shatter a pane of KHL glass with his head (VIDEO)

20 Oct

Alex Ovechkin is a large man and he hits with a great deal of force. On Saturday, Atlant Moscow forward Alexei Mikhnov experienced this phenomenon firsthand.

A split-second later, so did a pane of glass. And, judging by the way it shattered from fairly harmless contact with the big Russian winger, it's a wonder Mikhnov's nostrils didn't shoot clouds of dust from his bones exploding. Here's what happens when Alex Ovechkin meets KHL glass:

Holy cow, what is Ovechkin's helmet made of? High-pitched frequency?

The shattered pane wasn't the only thing that needed cleaning up. Ovechkin left the game briefly so that the Dynamo medical staff could sweep away the shards of glass in his equipment and bandage up a massive gash on his hand.

[More NHL: Donald Fehr addresses 'greedy' player myth]

When Ovechkin headed to the KHL a month ago, he made the ominous suggestion that he just might stay there if his salary was reduced. We called it an empty threat, citing the fact that a) his salary came from a contract and b) his sponsors weren't paying for him to play in Russia. But this clip gives us another reason.

Anyone who watches Ovechkin on the regular knows he really, really enjoys leaping into the glass, back-first. It's his jam. But as it turns out, KHL glass isn't quite as conducive to Ovechkin's signature celebration. Heck, you can't even back into it.

s/t to Dirty Dangle.

All the cool kids follow @HarrisonMooney on Twitter

Fantasy football advice on Yahoo! Sports:

Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:
• Paul Tagliabue's involvement in Saints bounty case a no-win case for Roger Goodell, NFL
• Barry Zito enjoyed Giant resurrection in Game 5 of the NLCS
• Tallest U.S. man gets much-needed gift from Timberwolves
• Y! Shine: Fake Heinz ketchup factory found in New Jersey

Tags: , Alexei Mikhnov, Atlant, Atlant Moscow, Donald Fehr, , , Mikhnov, , , pane of glass, shards of glass, shatter, ,
No Comments Share Read More

Puck Daddy’s KHL on ESPN2 recap: Ovechkin scores, Barry Melrose’s funny Euro names

09 Oct

As the Kontinental Hockey League debuted on ESPN2 for the first time Tuesday afternoon — with an evening replay at 8 p.m. ET — some considered it an embarrassment for the National Hockey League. Here were Alex Ovechkin and Zdeno Chara, established NHL stars, shining a light on Dynamo Moscow and HC Lev Praha respectively, on a network with whom Gary Bettman's had some bitter history.

Was the NHL embarrassed? Yeah, not so much. The KHL was, however, as their debut game on the WWL was a tepid sub-NHL affair with little that would compel a casual fan to tune in again.

Also, because the ESPN2 team of Steve Levy and Barry Melrose spent as much time on the NHL lockout, ads on the ice, guys named Mikuš and time zones than on the KHL itself. Was it fun? Yes. Did it remind me of calling high-school football games with the rest of my buddies in the AV club? Yes.

Here's our live blog on the KHL on ESPN2. Follow along when you're watching it again to get your hockey fix anyway you can.

• • •

1:00 p.m.: ESPN2 transitions from a shot of Drew Brees celebrating a touchdown pass to the villain from a 1960s Bond film singing the national anthem. We see his lips moving as ESPN's theme music blares, and then fades out awkwardly. Which is weird, because ESPN has never pushed hockey aside awkwardly for another sport. Steve Levy: "Well, if you were tuning in for 'O Canada', you were out of luck. While the NHL is away, the KHL will play."

1:01 p.m.: First Alex Ovechkin name check and sighting, in the lineup for Dynamo.

1:02 p.m.: Melrose: "If you're a casual fan, you'll recognize some names like Skoula, Chara and Ovechkin." Someone tell him that causal fans think Skoula is a brand of chewing tobacco.

1:04 p.m.: Melrose notes that Ovechkin is wearing No. 32 in the KHL while he wears No. 8 in the NHL, and that is "something we'll have to track down." Point No. 1: Nice show prep, Barry. Point No. 2: This took us roughly 1.8 seconds to track down, from Sept. 19.

1:06 p.m.: Good job up front by ESPN breaking down the differences between KHL and NHL hockey — less hitting, less board work, more of a chess match, and a little more "fancy" with the offense.

1:08 p.m.: The KHL rink crew (a.k.a. a dude in a Lev jersey with a power drill) hits to the ice to the delight of the ESPN crew. "Everyone's sorta hoping that he falls on his butt out there," said Barry Melrose.

1:10 p.m.: Chara with a hit. "No one told Chara he isn't supposed to hit in Europe!" says Melrose. I'm starting to really like the "Steve and Barry Take The Piss Out of Euro Hockey" routine.

1:10:30 p.m.: Case in point —

"Josef Jandač is the head coach for Lev Praha. What do you know about him, Barry?"

"Not a thing, Steve. I'm not going to sit here and lie to the audience."

[Much laughter]

1:11 p.m.: We find out that Barry Melrose thought that Yuri Gagarin was a hockey player, to the surprise of no one. "And for you space fans out there, Russian astronauts are called Cosmonauts." An actual quote from the actual Barry Melrose.

1:14 p.m.: More KHL knowledge, as we learn there isn't a hell of a lot of shot blocking, even on the power play. Which means Ovechkin would play HC Lev 10,000 times before he ever plays the Rangers again. Maybe he is staying.

1:18 p.m.: We have KHL cheerleaders on ESPN2!

1:20 p.m.: Melrose and Levy thank the hockey gods for having one Erik Christensen in the game since 80 percent of the other players are named Seirgevey Khalanonvovzyigovzy.

1:22: p.m.: The crowd chants something that sounds like "C-M-PUNK". Melrose is asked what it means. "We want a goal," adding that it's the universal hockey chant.

1:25 p.m.: There are two players named Juraj Mikuš on the HC Lev team, a.k.a. Zdeno Chara's team (as told to us by ESPN). The first Juraj Mikuš is a 25-year-old center. The other Juraj Mikuš is a 23-year-old defenseman. The boys find this endlessly amusing. And with that, we creep forever closer to a "Who's on Juraj Mikuš?" routine that would rival that of Abbott and Costello.

1:32 p.m.: Ovechkin is without a scoring chance and hasn't had the puck all that much. How did ESPN2 not inform us this was a playoff game?

1:34 p.m.: NHL lockout talk to end the period, with Melrose and Levy lamenting the work stoppage and Melrose predicting the players will return in December. Levy's outro for the scoreless first period is cut off by a WNBA commercial, which is weird, because ESPN has never pushed hockey aside awkwardly for another sport.

END OF FIRST PERIOD: One of most interesting moments of the first? Barry Melrose on Ovechkin and Washington Capitals fans, saying, "If I'm a fan back in DC watching my captain play for a different city and team, I'm angry"

1:50 p.m.: Nice job but Levy publicizing the Lokomotiv comeback story, as the resurrected team sits in first place in the KHL. Keep it up, and Lokomotiv is setting itself up to me honored by ESPN at year's end. Oh, who are we kidding?

1:54 p.m.: Melrose wonders if the 'T' is always silent in Russian names. Levy mentions several Russian names in which this is not the case. The preceding was sponsored by Rosetta Stone.

1:56 p.m.: Apropos of nothing, the KHL penalty benches look like something the players should carve their initials into while sitting there. "CHRIS SIMON WUZ HERE." That kind of thing.

1:58 p.m.: Ovechkin gets his best chance of the game with a driving shot to the net while falling that Malkin would have obviously buried. Levy and Melrose think he has better jump in the second period, which probably means someone from IMG called him between periods to subtly remind him the game was on ESPN2.

2:00 p.m.: "You said something that sounded like 'Yakupov', and Nail Yakupov was the rookie of the week in the KHL." Best. Segue. Ever, Steve Levy.

2:03 p.m.: For the record, Melrose likes the "Prague" jerseys more than the Dynamo jerseys. Also for the record: Melrose has given up trying to call HC Lev Praha anything but "Prague."

2:06 p.m.: "I wish Mrs. Mikuš would tweeter or twitter something about her son to us. Or both mothers." Barry Melrose, a man and his Mikuš.

2:08 p.m.: "That sounds like a law firm! Mikuš, Mikuš and Klepis!" Once again confirming Barry Melrose outsources most of his legal work to Zagreb.

2:11 p.m.: Remember before when I said it was cute that Melrose and Levy were taking the piss out of European Hockey? I take it back. I take it all back. It's degenerated into Barry Melrose's Funny-Sounding Names Pun-tacular. Our breaking point was turning Yuri Babenko of Dynamo into a Vegas-inspired "You can Babenko on it" stretch of Mr. Fantastic proportions.

2:13 p.m.: Ovechkin's inept play on the man advantage made me look to the blue line to see if Dennis Wideman had turned the puck over. Pavlovian response. Won't happen again next season. Sorry Calgary.

2:18 p.m.: As lockout talk continues, Levy mentions that every NHL home game brings in about $1 million to the local economy. Which we assume means it brings in roughly $3 million per game across the League and the Islanders bring down the average.

END OF SECOND PERIOD: And we're still scoreless, as the KHL captures the hearts and minds of American fans with tedious play, little physicality and nothing on the scoreboard. In other words: hockey in October.

2:38 p.m.: We begin the third period with a scintillating discussion of Barry Melrose's Twitter habits and a call for John Buccigross to follow the broadcast with KHL tonight (huzzah!)

2:39 p.m.: So here's a KHL goal — Ovechkin scores after the referee refuses to allow the Lev goalie to freeze the puck. He mishandles it, as a KHL goalie is wont to do. Ovechkin then shovels it in while inside the crease. So, in ESPN summary: "OVECHKIN'S BRILLIANT GOAL GIVES DYNAMO THE LEAD; CROSBY SOMETHING SOMETHING."

2:44 p.m.: Despite having the KHL create an exception so he could be paid more than any other NHL import in Russia, "it's not about the money" for Alex Ovechkin, according to Melrose.

2:45 p.m.: Melrose blasts the union members that jetting to Europe for millions while "80 percent" of the players are back in North America. Strong stuff. "If we're in a lockout, we should all be in a lockout." Wonder what Donald Fehr thinks of that?

2:48 p.m.: When the action picks up and Levy and Melrose are calling it as it happens, this feels like a real pro hockey game. When Melrose interrupts that flow to declare he's identified a Chevrolet logo near center ice, it feels the Sklar Brothers are watching a lumberjack competition, minus the jokes.

2:51 p.m.: "You wouldn't think a guy like Chris Simon would be needed in the KHL." Yes, why ever would they need someone of Simon's unique skills set?

2:53 p.m.: Legit LOL when Melrose said he'd call the booth to get a replay and ask for "Ivan." (Levy and Melrose are calling the game off the TV, in case you didn't know.)

2:55 p.m.: Melrose predicts that the NHL will have ads on jerseys.

2:58 p.m.: Levy notes that it's the fifth anniversary of the KHL (hence, the No. 5 in the logo we've seen after every replay) and asks Melrose if he ever played against some of the former Super League Russian stars. Melrose says yes. Levy, deadpans: "Summit Series?" A hearty laugh was shared.

3:01 p.m.: Ovechkin doesn't come out immediately for the power play, leading Melrose to opine: "Uh oh, Dale Hunter's gonna have to explain why he hates Ovechkin."

3:04 p.m.: If this game was any more tedious, it would qualify for the NHL preseason.

3:09 p.m.: Ovechkin on the ice for the final seconds of the game. Do Russian fans care about padding goal totals with empties?

3:10 p.m.: Levy asks Melrose to evaluate the 1-0 win for Dynamo, leading Melrose to realize he had just watched a hockey game.

3:10:30 p.m.: Melrose and Levy end the broadcast with lockout talk, with Melrose again reiterating that the Winter Classic will be the great obstacle to a cancelled season.

3:11 p.m.: "Now stayed tuned for NASCAR NOW" in lieu of a postgame show. Which is weird, because ESPN has never pushed hockey aside awkwardly for another sport ...

Tags: , Barry Melrose, , , Juraj, Lev, , ,
No Comments Share Read More

NHL 2012-13 Campaign Preview: Washington Capitals

08 Oct

Yes, indeed, despite the promise of impending labor Armageddon and a prolonged work-stoppage, your friends at Puck Daddy are previewing the 2012-13 NHL season (whenever the heck it starts). Why? Because this is the most important election in the history of all-time ever, and you need to know the candidates — like the Washington Capitals.

The Capitals had retooled during the summer, jettisoning a few players (including the Semyon Varlamov trade) and bringing in veterans like Troy Brouwer and Joel Ward, with an eye on finally finding postseason success.

But first, they had to find regular-season success again: Two days after a humiliating loss to a depleted Buffalo Sabres team, the Capitals fired Coach Bruce Boudreau following a 12-9-1 start (that included benchings for both Alex Ovechkin and Alex Semin). Boudreau had a record of 201-88-40 for the Capitals, led the team to the playoffs in each of this seasons there and once did an entire interview on HBO with food on his face.

Enter Dale Hunter, the Capitals legend who had coached the London Knights for the last 11 seasons. Long coveted by GM George McPhee, Hunter brought a conservative defensive style that the team finally bought into in the postseason; leading to a win over the Boston Bruins in the first round and the ascendance of rookie goalie Braden Holtby to postseason star. Alas, the run ended at the hands of the New York Rangers in Game 7.

After the season, Hunter walked away from the Capitals to return to juniors, and Washington inked another former player to replace him: New Jersey Devils assistant coach Adam Oates.

Can he be the one to finally get the team past the second round of the conference playoffs?

"Finally Drained of Semin"

As was just crudely mentioned, Alex Semin and the Capitals finally parted ways after seven years of brilliant offensive moments but frustratingly inconstant play and questions about work ethic. It was time for a change for both teams, as Semin signed with the Carolina Hurricanes -- but his offense isn't easily replaced.

The Capitals bid farewell to goalie Tomas Vokoun, who was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins; forward Mike Knuble, who was unsigned; defenseman Dennis Wideman, who signed with the Calgary Flames; winger Chris Bourque, was traded to Boston fro Zach Hamill; center Keith Aucoin, who signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs; and center Jeff Halpern and defenseman Sean Collins, who signed with the Rangers.

The Capitals weren't overwhelmingly active in free agency — they added Wojtek Wolski, Ryan Stoa, Jack Hillen and Joey Crabb — but swung for the fences with a big trade: Acquiring C Mike Ribeiro from the Dallas Stars for C Cody Eakin and a second-round 2012 draft pick.

At forward … Alex Ovechkin finished with the lowest points per game average (0.83, the first time he was under a point per game) of his career, although he surged to 38 goals with a late-season push. Having center Nicklas Backstrom limited with 42 games due to a concussion was no doubt a factor. With Oates behind the bench, perhaps Ovechkin can make up some of the points he's lost on special teams in recent seasons.

Backstrom had 44 points in 42 games, skating to a minus-4. Having Ribeiro on the second line will help take some of the pressure off the talented pivot, rather than having a revolving cast of characters as the second option at center.

Marcus Johannson was third on the team in points, but managed only 3 in 14 playoff games. Still, he showed solid offensive promise in his sophomore season skating with Ovechkin and Backstrom.

Ribeiro should have Troy Brouwer on his line, as the former Blackhawk netted 18 goals last season. Mathieu Perreault is undersized but can create his own chances, as he frequently did in scoring 30 points in 64 games last season. Or perhaps, the Capitals will give speedy Jason Chimera a look after his breakout season with 20 goals.

Brooks Laich had 16 goals and 41 points on the season, and should be able to slide back into a defensive mode with the top two center spots solidified. Joel Ward, hero of Game 7 (well, at least to some) against Boston, will settle into a checking role again for the Capitals. Washington has several other truculent options down the lineup, like fan favorites Jay Beagle and Matt Hendricks.

Where Wolski and AHLer Stanislav Galiev fit are anyone's guess.

On defense … It wasn't a sterling year for the Capitals' top two remaining puck-moving defensemen (with Wideman gone). John Carlson posted 32 goals, but finished at a minus-15, taking a step back from a stellar rookie season, Mike Green was limited to 32 games due to injury and posted seven points. He had a very strong postseason and earned a new contract; will we ever see the old Mike Green again?

Carlson should be back with Karl Alzner again, who may have been the team's best defenseman last season. Roman Hamrlik, the 38-year-old defenseman who averaged 19:13 TOI last season, will be back in the top four.

Rounding out the lineup: Defensive defenseman John Erskine and speedy Dmitri Orlov, along with Jack Hillen and Jeff Schultz. Then there's Tom Poti, still under contract but likely done.

In goal … Holtby should enter the season (whenever it starts) as the top option between the pipes, and is getting more work in the AHL during the lockout. He thrived in Dale Hunter's system; can he do the same for Oates?

Michael Neuvirth called Holtby the "weakest competition" he'll have faced in a goalie tandem, and then walked away from that statement briskly. Which ignores the fact that he's right: Holtby doesn't have the body of work in the NHL that Varlamov and Vokoun had. But Holtby's also been groomed to be the starter for years, considered by many to be a better prospect than Neuvirth. Two young goalies trying to beat the other out of a job. Not a bad problem to have for the Caps.

BEAT DAT BEAT UP! GTL 4 LIFE! (Mike Green pops collar.)

Oates arrives having never been a head coach in the NHL but having served well as an assistant with the Cup Finalist Devils last season. His hockey smarts are off the charts, and his offensive credentials are unimpeachable. If he can apply some of this power-play efficiency to this Capitals roster, their offense could roll.

That said, Boudreau lost the team and Hunter didn't feel compelled to return. Can Oates manage this locker room?

McPhee once again has attempted to add the last touches to a contender, in the hopes that this formula works. He deserved much credit for hiring Hunter and making some of the moves that paid off in the first two rounds of the playoffs (like Ward, finally). But he didn't replace Semin's offense, he may miss Wideman's points from the blue line and there's a creeping sense that the window is closing on this group — despite McPhee having locked up so many of them long term.

We'll go with Backstrom, who from an offensive and defensive perspective might be the most complete forward on the team. He's two seasons removed from his 101-point breakout, but should thrive with Ribeiro behind him and Oates there to teach him.

Orlov. He was a scratch in the playoffs, but had 19 points in 60 games for the Capitals during the regular season. He's got speed and size, and is yet another offensive option for the Caps on their blue line.

Holtby. While we think the kid has the goods, let's take a step back and see what the numbers look like without Hunter Hockey in front of him -- and with teams being a tad more familiar with him.

[Female Narrator]

"Childhood obesity. A scourge on our society. A drag on our health system.

"Candy bars and potato chips: leading causes of childhood obesity.

"And yet Alex Ovechkin violently covets these treats:

"And tries to trick our children into thinking they can be used to create rips in the fabric of time and space:

"Let Alex Ovechkin know that childhood obesity matters to you.

"And by that, I mean poke him in the belly during the offseason.

"Paid for by George McPhee."

The Southeast is a more interesting place than last season: The Carolina Hurricanes have Jordan Staal and Semin; the Lightning have bolster their blue line and addressed their goaltending; the Panthers were a division champ last season (and are waiting on Luongo). The Capitals need a smooth transition to Oates next season, because a playoff spot isn't predestined for any team that gets off slowly in the East.

That said, the Capitals should be a playoff team. And Ovechkin should reclaim his form.

Tags: Adam Oates, , , goalie, , , , , , Wolski
No Comments Share Read More
MOSCOW (AP) -- Alexander Ovechkin is returning to his former Russian team Dynamo Moscow during the NHL lockout.
No Comments Share Read More
MOSCOW (AP) -- Alexander Ovechkin is returning to his former Russian team Dynamo Moscow during the NHL lockout.
No Comments Share Read More

Here are your Puck Headlines: a glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media.

• Sigh. If only t'were so easy.

• Alex Ovechkin, upon signing in Russia: "As to the future, it will depend on what kind of conditions there will be in the NHL with the new CBA. If our contracts get slashed, I will have to think whether to return there or not. I won't rule out staying in the KHL, even past this season." [Washington Post]

Ilya Bryzgalov is set to join CKSA in the KHL. But who will take care of his husky while he's gone? [CSN Philly]

• Sidney Crosby's agent, Pat Brisson, was on the Fan 590 Wednesday and he discussed Sidney Crosby playing overseas. One potential snag: it could cost a team up to $400,000 a month to insure a part of his contract. Well, he is a Ferrari. [Chris Johnston]

• The IIHF responds to Dmitri Chesnokov's report that they weren't issuing transfer cards to Nail Yakupov and others. [Oilers Nation]

• Could an NHL lockout actually help the Phoenix Coyotes? [The Hockey Writers]

• Damien Cox, on the fallout between Francois Allaire and the rest of the Leafs' coaching staff: "Randy Carlyle, who had worked with Allaire in Anaheim, gave the goalie coach a list of three conditions he would have to meet if he wanted to return for the 2012-13 season. The list included: working a maximum 17 days a month, including six with the Marlies, rather than being around the team every day; apologizing to the coaches on staff he had offended; and a commitment to teaching a more aggressive goaltending style." [Leafs Nation]

• Another casualty of the lockout: the tiny community of Stirling-Rawdon, Ontario, who won the Kraft Hockeyville challenge and with it the right to host an NHL exhibition game this fall. That game has been cancelled. [Vancouver Sun]

• Save the small-market teams, save the world. [TSN]

• Mike Modano, on the 04-05 lockout: "In hindsight, it wasn't worth it. It was a waste of time. We thought we were stronger than we were. We started falling apart as the months clicked by." [ESPN]

• A lot of teams are cutting their employees' salaries. So far, the Anaheim Ducks aren't one of them. [OC Register]

• The LA Kings are for sale, although to get them, you'll also have to buy the Houston Dynamo. Sorry about that. [Associated Press]

• Brian Falla, the son of legendary backyard rink-builder Jack Falla, on what that backyard rink meant to him. Neat piece. [Backyard Hockey]

• Capamatics: a plan for transitioning to a soft salary cap. [On Goal Analysis]

• Jason Spezza joins Logan Couture, Rick Nash and Joe Thornton in the Swiss League. He'll play for Rapperswil-Jona. [CBC]

• Was Ryan O'Reilly snubbed as Colorado Avalanche captain, and did his contract dispute have anything to do with it? [Rant Sports]

• 10 ways for Flyers fans to spend the NHL lockout, featuring suggestions such as: become an NFL replacement ref, since this requires no qualifications whatsoever. [Philly Mag]

• The cause of NHL lockout, explained in graphs. [Canucks Army]

• And finally, here's footage of Max Talbot's super duper totally real not fake at all offseason training regimen, which involves one finger pushups.

Tags: , , , Puck Headlines,
No Comments Share Read More

After some weeks of uncertainty — including whether team management wanted him on the roster — Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin was officially announced as a member of Dynamo Moscow on Wednesday, passing a physical and practicing with the team.

Via Steve Whyno of the Washington Times, a monetary detail:

Typically, NHL players are allowed to receive 65 percent of their North American salaries in the KHL, though according to Sovietsky Sport, Ovechkin worked out a deal that paid him more.

The rough estimates are in the neighborhood of $5.7 million for Ovechkin in his KHL deal — tax free, mind you. (We imagine he'll be the first one in the room at the next CBA negotiating session. Dude's practically destitute.)

Of course, Ovechkin isn't the only NHL star that will be well compensated for playing hockey while his League back in North America locks him out. According to Elite Prospects, roughly 35 players have committed to overseas gigs with scores more rumored to be in negotiations.

One of those players is Patrik Berglund of the St. Louis Blues, who will play for              Västerås of the Swedish HockeyAllsvenskan league — and play for free.

He's got some history there, having played for the team for three years before joining the Blues in 2008. He also played his youth hockey for Västerås IK.

Because of those connections, Berglund decided to forgo a salary, as he straps on the skates during the NHL lockout.

From Linus Hugosson, Editor of Pro Hockey Magazine:

Patrik Berglund joining Vasteras is also worth some tribute. To me, that's a great transaction, just the type you want to see in these special lockout-times.

An NHL star coming home to his youth club, wants no pay, just wants to give back for all the help he has received during his career.

What an inspiration for the kids and juniors in that club — as well for the first team.

I almost hope for a long lockout when I think of this deal.

Well, that makes one of us. But it is nice to see a player like Berglund giving back during a time when so many others are making bank. Like Ovechkin, who in the KHL will make roughly 2.4 times more than Berglund makes in the NHL.

NFL video from Yahoo! Sports:

Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:
• NBC's 'Revolution' revokes Cubs' 2012 World Series championship
• Jalen Rose admits trying to hurt Kobe during the 2000 NBA Finals
• Video: Are these 3-0 college football teams for real?
• Y! Shopping: The top-rated types of beautiful bacon

No Comments Share Read More

With some of the big names signing in the KHL, Alex Ovechkin is still on the market. Some of us thought that today, Alex Ovechkin's 27th birthday, he would get a nice present in the form of a contract in the KHL.

But nothing has happened yet.

Just recently, his alma mater Dynamo Moscow was making strange noises about not bringing him on board for the lockout. And that's after the club employed Ovechkin as its "official advisor" a couple of years ago even though it is tough to say if the relationship is still ongoing.

Gleb Chistyakov, his Russian agent, said:"CSKA and Dynamo Moscow have interest in us. The negotiations are still ongoing.  And there's nothing concrete that can be disclosed to the newswire."

But one thing is clear: Ovechkin thinks the NHL lockout may take an entire year and if it does, he will spend that year in the KHL.

Said Ovechkin, exclusively to Pavel Lysenkov and Sovietsky Sport: "If the League [NHL] continues to insist on their [demands], then it will take a full year. That's because we are not going to cave in.  Then I will spend the entire season in the KHL. It's an absolute reality."

Where in the KHL would Ovechkin play? Said Matveev:

"First of all, there's a difficult question with insurance.  For players of Ovechkin's level it is about $100k per month.  The insurance company must be established, approved by the NHLPA.  Secondly, of course, there's the contract's substance."

How important it is to play with established players:

"Of course Ovechkin wants to play with good teammates.  But it is not the deciding factor.  I think that the clubs still don't know who they will sign.  Who will tell you now that Datsyuk, Semin and Ovechkin will be on the same team?"

Chistyakov added that he hopes the negotiations won't take long

It's worth remembering that Sergei Fedorov, who played with Ovechkin in Washington, is currently CSKA's general manager.

But the KHL's president says Dynamo has a "moral right" to Ovechkin.

Ovechkin has avoided questions about his future. "I am not yet ready to answer this question," Ovechkin told Dmitry Ponomarenko of Sovetsky Sport. "But I think that you will know everything in a few days. It will all be officially announced."

At the same time, the Washington Capitals captain said that he is yet to decide where he will play.

It is very possible, even more likely than not, that Ovechkin will indeed join CSKA. It is also possible he will be reunited with his old friend from Washington, Alexander Semin there, who also has not yet made up his mind about his lockout future.

And there are more whispers — completely unconfirmed — that Pavel Datsyuk may center that line.

Ovechkin also declined to tell who he is skating and practicing with, citing possible rumors. "I don't want to answer that question, otherwise rumors will start floating around. I will only say that I am not going to drag out the negotiations," he told SovSport. "For me personally the sooner I start the season the better. I fully understand that it will be difficult to adjust at first."

(Ed. Note: A previous version of this post listed Valery Matveev as Ovechkin's Russian agent, as per Izvestiya newspaper. His Russian agent is Gleb Chistyakov.)

NFL video from Yahoo! Sports:

Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:
• Peyton Manning says lack of arm strength not to blame for interceptions
• Yunel Escobar's eye black contained gay slur
• Dana White's breakneck lifestyle not going to stop anytime soon, health be damned
• Y! Movies: It came from the '80s: 'Manimal' to get big screen treatment

No Comments Share Read More

Ovechkin breaks bad; Luongo yearns for Florida; explaining the CBA situation (Puck Headlines)

04 Sep

• It's official: Alex Ovechkin has broken bad. [@ovi8]

• Speaking of Breaking Bad, here's the super-touching story of a Caps fan named Skylar. [RMNB]

• Speaking of Ovechkin, here's what he had to say about the NHLPA's plan to help small-market teams: "We want to help teams that financially are not that good and the league knows it. They tell [us] what they want and think that cutting our salaries and our contract years is going to help that. Why are they still signing guys for 10 years and not five years? It's strange and they look stupid." [CSN Washington]

• Speaking of the Washington Capitals, this post suggests that Filip Forsberg, Braden Holtby, and Mike Green are untouchable, while Alex Ovechkin is not. [Rant Sports]

• Roberto Luongo is down in Florida, practicing at the Panthers training facility and hoping he gets adopted. My favourite part is the headline says he's 'disgruntled'. [Sun Sentinal]

• Three-time Stanley Cup winner John Madden has retired and joined the Montreal Canadiens front office. [@Canadiens]

• Mark Spector on the CBA situation and hockey's economic pendulum swinging back towards the middle. [Sportsnet]

• According to Pierre LeBrun, in the NHL's proposal to the players, the league threw out the idea of delaying the start of the free agency period to July 10. [ESPN]

• And here's a take on the CBA situation by dummies, for dummies. [Arctic Ice Hockey]

• This guy doesn't like Gary Bettman. "Bettman, who comes from a hockey background of not having any hockey background whatsoever prior to being named commissioner, has no reason to care about hockey. I have no idea whether or not he likes hockey, but the facts are that he had never worked in the game before, having worked for the NBA for most of his career, and that since he was named commissioner, he has a record that demonstrates an utter neglect for the game of hockey and its fans." [Obstructed View Sports]

• Down Goes Brown digs up the original 1972 Summit Series application form. [DGB]

• Hey, remember that horrifying thing that happened to Richard Zednik's neck? Here's why you should have been even more horrified than you were. [Backhand Shelf]

• Braden Holtby looks forward to starting the year in the AHL. [InGoal Mag]

• Donate to the Pass it to Bulis road hockey team to fight cancer, play hockey with me, get a song written about you, or get the blog renamed in your honour. [PITB]

• Some milestones to watch for this season, if this season ever starts. [CBC]

• Jordan Staal is still optimistic the season could start on time. "I know both sides are trying hard. It seems like we've hit a little bit of a roadblock right now. But hopefully we can get through it and get talking again. Just find a way to get this thing started." If by "this thing" he means the season, that's one thing, but if he means CBA negotiations, he might want to shed some of that optimism. [Canes Now]

• How the KHL will benefit from an NHL lockout. Can I just say that this blog's title and tagline look not safe for work? [Fang Faction]

• Meanwhile, this post's title is NSFW. I'll helpfully touch it up for you: Don't be a foolish person, you're not stop to stop the lockout with a Youtube video. [The Pensblog]

• And finally, here's the most embarrassing thing in the world, as a goalie gets beaten in a shootout by another goalie.

Tags: , , , Luongo, ,
No Comments Share Read More

What We Learned: Will NHL lockout force star players to KHL?

27 Aug

Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend's events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.

So let's just operate under the assumption that there's no way the NHL avoids a work stoppage, and that the players are locked out despite having done nothing wrong under the framework ownership pushed on them seven years ago.

Then what? Granted, it seems no one particularly feels as though the League will miss another entire season as it did last time out; but nonetheless, rumors are already starting to swirl about what might happen if this lasts two weeks or two months.

The obvious answer for many players who find themselves locked out of a job will be to sit at home, skate with some buddies, keep training and wait this thing out. It's been reported in a few places that players will be getting sizable escrow checks soon after the season would have begun, and that will certainly tide more than a few over as they twiddle their thumbs, not collecting cash legally owed to them by their teams' owners.

But some might not have that option, or might want to pursue bigger paychecks overseas. And what happens then?

(Coming Up: Flyers prospect charged with sexual assault; Tyler $eguin and his new contract; Kyle Quincey dabbles in tampering; Dan Bylsma, true patriot; Neuvirth out of context; interesting concussion news; and your winner and loser of the weekend.)

Witness the rumors that Alex Ovechkin will, in the event of a lockout, entertain the idea of returning to Russia to play for Dynamo Moscow. Say what you want about Ovechkin's decline over the last few years (especially you, Michal Neuvirth), but in a league most recently dominated by Alex Radulov and Brandon Bochenski, a player of Ovechkin's quality — and name recognition — would likely lead whoever employs him to dominate most games, and the goals to pile up in a hurry.

When Karri Ramo is the third-best goalie in your league, and Kevin Dallman continues to be one of its two best defensemen, you need all the help you can get.

But Ovechkin heading home for however long the lockout lasts probably wouldn't be a problem. A player of his stature in his homeland would likely be allowed to duck out the second the best league on the planet started playing again, and maybe wouldn't have to do so under cover of night as Evgeni Malkin once did.

Players like Nail Yakupov, on the other hand? Well, that's less certain. A report from a well-known European hockey writer earlier this week stated that his agent, Igor Larionov, believes Yakupov will play in the KHL in the event of a lockout, rather than return to the OHL's Sarnia Sting. This despite having another year of junior eligibility. Can't blame him, really. He's clearly too good to continue playing against children in the OHL and the idea of a sizable payday must be enticing as well. But the question, one supposes, is whether he would have the Ovechkin-like heft to weasel an escape clause into his KHL contract.

Edmonton would be pissed.

The same is apparently also true of guys like Vladimir Tarasenko and Viktor Tikhonov, who were expected to challenge for jobs with their NHL clubs, the Blues and Coyotes, respectively.

Alexander Medvedev, who heads the KHL, has stated to Russian press that the league would not amend its roster rules to allow for more foreign players in the event of an NHL lockout, but that doesn't address the issue of all those Russian- and Eastern European-born players and prospects who would be considered domestic.

Meanwhile, the Swedish Elite League has already ruled that any players who sign contracts with its teams for the lockout would have to stay there the entire season, no out clauses allowed. One suspects that the KHL, and perhaps other leagues in Europe, would not be so stingy in allowing the best players in the world to come to its shores, but that could complicate things when our domestic league returns.

What if a key player for, say, Vancouver, goes and plays a couple games overseas but gets injured? What if guys have trouble escaping their foreign deals and are more or less forced to play in an inferior league when they just wanted to pick up a paycheck?

The problem was one experienced during the NBA lockout last season, when the Knicks' JR Smith injured his knee in his first game for a Chinese team, and had to wait until February to sign back in North America. Now, this isn't a directly analogous situation since the NBA and NHL obviously operate very differently, and Smith was a free agent at the time of his trip to China. Smith, further, is hardly a star, having started just 25 games in the last four seasons.

But does the League really want its players, regardless of quality, held ransom? I wonder how eager the owners would be to get things back under way if it seemed like marketable stars such as Ovechkin or Evgeni Malkin were likely to miss the entire season due to a Russian contract.

Don't worry though, gang. If a bunch of star players do go to the KHL, you might get to see them in exhibition games anyway.

Lucky you.

What We Learned

Anaheim Ducks: The Ducks, along with Disney and the Anaheim Angels, donated $60,000 to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Anaheim to help keep kids enrolled in its programs. That's good stuff.

Boston Bruins: With new contracts in the books for Taylor Hall and Jeff Skinner, how does this impact the Bruins' excellent former No. 2 overall pick? Let's just say they're going to have to start spelling his last name "$eguin."

Buffalo Sabres: Perhaps some good news in the event of a prolonged lockout: Darcy Regier said camps would likely be shortened. "Generally players come into training camp in very good shape and we utilize a lot of that time for exhibition games and to evaluate players," he said. "We certainly don't need the full camp if there's a delay."

Calgary Flames: Did Cory Sarich ask for a trade back to his native Winnipeg? "Yes," hoped every Calgary Flames fan.

Carolina Hurricanes: The Calgary Hitmen would very much like it if Victor Rask came back to them for one more season, but the Swedish center, who scored 33 goals last season, wants to take a crack at making the Canes' roster. He might wanna check their depth chart down the middle.

Chicago Blackhawks: "We can be better in some areas, be it special teams and keeping the puck out of our own net," said Joel Quenneville, who was apparently surprised that a team backstopped by Corey Crawford didn't get deeper into the playoffs.

Colorado Avalanche: Kyle Quincey hints he would like to see Detroit pursue Ryan O'Reilly with an offer sheet. Where are the Canucks to cry about tampering?

Columbus Blue Jackets: Kristian Huselius says the Blue Jackets rushed him into the lineup after an injury and that resulted in his re-aggravating his groin. He now won't return the team's phone calls and will wrap his career in Sweden. When it rains in Columbus, it pours.

Dallas Stars: If there's a lockout, the Dallas Stars would likely suffer financially and in terms of their influence in the area. Making the playoffs would help, but let's be honest here…

Detroit Red Wings presented by Amway: Speaking of Kyle Quincey, he's really hoping that with Nick Lidstrom and Brad Stuart gone, he can increase his role with the team. Given the current state of the Red Wings' blue line depth, if he can't, well, that would actually be pretty sad.

Edmonton Oilers: Hey all that stuff about Nail Yakupov has a leg infection? Made up. In fact, he recently skated with Taylor Hall and no one stepped on anyone else's face, so things are going great.

Florida Panthers: Panthers single-game tickets went on sale over the weekend, backed by the team's Good Time Guarantee policy. If you go to a game and don't have a good time, you'll get your money back. Given the quality of that team, this seems like a bad, bad idea.

Los Angeles Kings: Dustin Brown is the 14th-biggest sports star in the LA area. Jonathan Quick, at No. 17, is "perhaps LA's most under-appreciated athlete." Yeah you think? He's behind that snowboard kid and a way-past-it Venus Williams.

Minnesota Wild: Know who's probably most upset about a potential lockout is the Minnesota Wild. "Look how much money we spent this summer, guys!" they're probably screaming.

Montreal Canadiens: The Habs recently hired former Bruin and NESN studio analyst Mark Mowers as a pro scout based in New England. "Paranoid Montreal hockey fans don't have to worry about Mowers working as a Bruins double-agent." Was this really a thing that had to be said?

Nashville Predators: I will never get sick of headlines like this.

New Jersey Devils: The Devils want to improve upon last season's performance but if you see them winning or even challenging for the Stanley Cup, I have a hockey team in Glendale to sell you.

New York Islanders: Rick DiPietro went to visit a pit bull puppy who was recently thrown from a moving car, presumably to compare old battle scars. "You got thrown out of a car, little dog? One time, Brent Johnson punched me in the face."

New York Rangers: MSG saw its profits more than triple in the fourth quarter but yeah there definitely needs to be a lockout for sure.

Ottawa Senators: The Sens recently came to terms with No. 15 pick Cody Ceci on a three-year entry-level deal. You'll recall that Ceci was born in Ottawa and played his OHL games for the 67s, so he's probably feeling pretty great about everything.

Philadelphia Flyers: Flyers prospect Nick Cousins and two of his junior teammates were charged with sexual assault over the weekend.

Phoenix Coyotes: Today is Day No. 17 since Jude LaCava of Fox 10 in Arizona said Greg Jamison would have the deal for the Coyotes sewn up within the next five days. A tumbleweed just rolled past the Arena.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Dan Bylsma is a true patriot. He spent the weekend at the USA Hockey Coaches Symposium, because he feels it's important for him to impart his considerable coaching wisdom on others in his profession. What a guy.

San Jose Sharks: Joe Thornton says the Blues were the "better team" than San Jose last year, which was evident to anyone who watched either play after Ken Hitchcock got hired.

St. Louis Blues: Why wouldn't you want to pay $40 to watch St. Louis Blues luminaries like Scott Mellanby, Tyson Nash and Mike Zuke play in a charity game? It's for charity!

Tampa Bay Lightning: Guy Boucher is volunteering his time as a cook at a Susan G. Komen event. "As for the food, I spend more time at the rink than in the kitchen, but I'm sure everyone will have a great time for an even greater cause," he said. Uh oh.

Toronto Maple Leafs: How much are the Leafs going to have to shelter Nazem Kadri to ensure he gets success this season? To the tune of playing 17 minutes or less a night against weak competition in offensive situations.

Vancouver Canucks: Jason Garrison would really like you to come up with a new nickname for him. The suggestions on the linked page are absolutely abominable.

Washington Capitals: Hey come on now guys, all those true-but-unflattering things Michal Neuvirth said about Ovechkin, Semin and Holtby? Taken out of context, obviously. The context being that he meant them but didn't think the interview would make it back to North America.

Winnipeg Jets: Winnipeg will be able to support the Jets at least through 2035, by which time Evander Kane will have been the subject of roughly 2 trillion more trade rumors.

Gold Star Award

Real interesting story from ESPN about whether the concussion impact tests conducted by every major sports league in North America — including the NHL — actually does anything helpful.

Minus of the Weekend

We're down to just 20 days under the current CBA. Terrible news.

Perfect HFBoards Trade Proposal of the Week

User "MVW" might be a Flames fan:

To NJ:
Matt Stajan
Paul Byron
Leland Irving

To Calgary:
Travis Zajac

Great stuff.


I don't need to look past seeing them to get all I need.

Ryan Lambert publishes hockey awesomeness almost never over at The Two-Line Pass. Check it out, why don't you? Or you can e-mail him and follow him on Twitter if you so desire.

No Comments Share Read More
1 2 Next »

Recent Posts

  • Report: Redskins set to re-sign Chris Cooley – Chris Cooley | WAS
    Report: Redskins set to re-sign Chris Co...
    October 22, 2012No Comments
  • 1-5 Panthers can general manager Marty Hurney – Panthers Offense | CAR
    1-5 Panthers can general manager Marty H...
    October 22, 2012No Comments
  • Redskins sign Cooley in wake of Davis injury – Chris Cooley | WAS
    Redskins sign Cooley in wake of Davis in...
    October 22, 2012No Comments
  • (Yahoo! Sports)
    (Yahoo! Sports)...
    October 22, 2012No Comments
  • Golf-Dubai ticket would make a world of difference to Howell (Reuters)
    Golf-Dubai ticket would make a world of ...
    October 22, 2012No Comments