Former first round pick Svitov coming back to the NHL

Former first-round pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning and overall bust Alexander Svitov is apparently coming back to America according to Chris Botta of FanHouse.

A 6-foot-3 center, Svitov was the third overall pick in the 2001 draft. He struggled as a 20-year-old under coach John Tortorella in Tampa Bay and was traded to Columbus in 2003. In 2004-05, Svitov had 19 goals and 23 assists for 41 points plus 200 penalty minutes over 69 games with the Syracuse Crunch, the Blue Jackets’ American Hockey League affiliate. The following season, he was 7-11-18 with 145 penalty minutes in 76 games with Columbus.

Svitov never really panned out at all with Tampa Bay and his career with the Blue Jackets saw him play more as a checking line center and enforcer. Botta points out that he was able to find his scoring touch in Russia, sort of.

Last season he was 7-17-24 in 41 games with Omsk, fourth behind leading scorer Jaromir Jagr, who had 42 points in 51 games.

All right so he’s probably not going to be a big time scorer but then again you never know. After all, having big guys hanging around the net is working out pretty well for the Chicago Blackhawks and Dustin Byfuglien. Svitov certainly has no reservations about being physical so perhaps, and forgive me for putting it this way, someone can catch lightning in a bottle.

If you’re curious about who Tampa Bay passed on in that 2001 draft, there’s a good handful of solid NHL talent they missed out on by going for Svitov: Stephen Weiss, Mikko Koivu, Mike Komisarek, Tuomo Ruutu, Ales Hemsky, R.J. Umberger, and Colby Armstrong all stand out as first rounders that panned out a bit better. No one ever said the draft was a perfect science.

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    PHT Morning Skate: Adam Henrique wants to make NHL 17 great again

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    PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

    Martin Jones is a calming presence in the Sharks’ net. (Sports Illustrated)

    –The Rangers should go after Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. (The Hockey News)

    –Some people have pretty wild hockey tattoos. (BarDown)

    –Watch the highlights of last night’s game between the Penguins and Capitals. (Top)

    –A great piece on how Bruce Boudreau impacted the Ducks and Capitals. (Sportsnet)

    –It should be an interesting off-season for the Anaheim Ducks. (Daily Breeze)

    Adam Henrique is a funny guy. He took to Twitter to try and get himself on the cover of NHL 17:

    Capitals accuse Letang of leaving his feet, hitting Johansson in head

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    Get this: the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins seem divided on the legality of Kris Letang‘s hit on Marcus Johansson.

    (Take a moment to gather your thoughts amid this shocking revelation.)

    You can watch the hit over and over in the video above. This post features some takes on that check, which the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly reviewing.

    Generally speaking, the three things people discuss regarding the check is how late it might be, if Letang used his feet and if Johansson’s head was the principal point of contact.

    Letang told his side of the story:

    The Capitals disagree:

    While Barry Trotz pleads the Fifth after his previous comments about Brooks Orpik‘s suspension:

    No doubt about it, Letang’s status is the top story to follow in this series between Games 3 and 4. We’ll find out soon enough how it all shakes out.

    Penguins ride Murray’s masterpiece to 2-1 series lead vs. Capitals

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    If Marc-Andre Fleury suiting up bothers Matt Murray, then the rookie goalie channeled those feelings into a masterful performance on Monday.

    The Washington Capitals absolutely dominated Game 3, but Murray was even better, stopping 47 shots as the Penguins stole one 3-2 to take a 2-1 series lead.

    (Capitals fans might see some parallels to Washington’s Game 5 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers; they fell 2-0 despite a 44-11 shots on goal edge thanks to Michal Neuvirth‘s heroics.)

    Murray stopped chance after chance before Alex Ovechkin finally broke through for his first goal of this series. Justin Williams then brought the Penguins’ lead down to 3-2 to make for a hold-your-breath final minute.

    A driven Ovechkin and strong overall play from the Capitals (despite this defeat) aren’t the only reasons why Game 4 might present some twists.

    First things first: Kris Letang might get suspended for Game 4 (if not for more than one game) thanks to this controversial check on Marcus Johansson.

    Beyond that, there could be some bumps and bruises from this contest.

    Bryan Rust left during the first period and didn’t return to the game after blocking a shot. Brian Dumoulin seemed shaken up after an Alex Ovechkin hit in the third period. The Capitals might have a player or two to look at, as well.

    In other words, the Penguins could really lack for quality defensemen with Letang possibly suspended and possible injury absences for Dumoulin and Olli Maatta.

    This series is living up to the hype … and really building up the hate.

    Yes, NHL is reportedly looking at Letang’s hit on Johansson

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    It remains to be seen if Kris Letang will get suspended for his hit on Marcus Johansson … and if he does, for how long.

    (You can read initial reactions and some analysis about the specifics of the check vs. the one that got Brooks Orpik suspended here.)

    There are a few things we do know already.

    For one thing, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly looking into it.

    Another factor that could help Letang avoid a suspension or limit the duration of supplemental discipline: Marcus Johansson returned during the second period.

    In fact, Johansson delivered some hits on Letang.

    There have been some nasty moments in Game 3, and more might be coming. The Penguins lead 2-0 with a few minutes remaining in the middle frame.