2010 NHL Free Agency: No news on Ilya Kovalchuk just yet

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kovalchukjuly1.jpgWe are now six hours into the 2010 NHL free agency period and still nothing concrete on Ilya Kovalchuk — the supposed top free agent this summer.

All day long it’s looked like the Los Angeles Kings were the frontrunners on Kovalchuk, but over the past few hours things have slowed down a bit on the Kovalchuk to LA talk. Right now the Kings are working on trading for a defensemen after missing out on the top free agents, and now it seems their focus isn’t completely on Kovalchuk.

While there’s a number of teams in on the Kovalchuk negotiations, including the New Jersey Devils, even now it seems like the Kings are still the favorite destination for the Russian sniper. Yet the rush of rumors and whispers about the contract talks have certainly slowed, as Kovalchuk waits for the perfect deal to come along.

Word is he’s waiting on Los Angeles to make the offer he wants, although as of now their focus is on improving the defense.

GM says Blue Jackets are ‘off the rails’ right now

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On Monday, PHT discussed the Columbus Blue Jackets’ troubling start, even if it felt like it may be too early to raise concerns.

Apparently Blue Jackets management is a little shaken by the second 0-3-0 start in franchise history, however.

Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen shared his shock and dismay with the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline on Tuesday.

“I’m surprised how, in just five days, we’ve gone from a very confident group to something that’s the opposite of that,” Kekalainen told The Dispatch on Tuesday. “Our confidence, our game … it’s off the rails right now.

Maybe losing to the Buffalo Sabres stings a little bit extra?

Kekalainen said “there’s no excuse for how we played in Buffalo,” pointing out that every team in the NHL is a “good team.”

Indeed, just about every squad boasts some dangerous weapons if they catch an opponent sleeping.

Portzline goes deeper on Columbus’ recent history of stumbling out of the gate, but consider the foreboding stretch coming up.

Next four games: Three out of four at home
Eight games following that: Seven out of eight on the road.

As you can see, winter is coming for Columbus, so they best get things together. All things considered, this is the right time for a wake-up call.

For bonus chuckles, here’s a photo of Kekalainen on a railing.

via AP

Personal reasons: No Ovechkin for Caps tonight

Alex Ovechkin
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Alex Ovechkin won’t play for the Washington Capitals on Tuesday because of personal reasons, the team confirmed.

He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.

Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).

That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out

This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:

No, the Capitals have not shared details regarding what his “personal reasons” might be, by the way.