Russian website says Flyers and Avs in on Kovalchuk

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russiakovalchuk.jpgThe circus surrounding the possibility of superstar winger Ilya Kovalchuk signing anywhere continues to get more interesting. The other night we told you about a supposed max contract offer from the Islanders for Kovalchuk worth $100 million. Today, we’ve got a report from a Russian website citing Kovalchuk’s Russian agent (yes, he has two agents, the other being Jay Grossman) saying that two more suitors have made offers for him. Tom Gulitti from Fire & Ice gives us the details.

In a report on the Russian website, Life Sports, Ilya Kovalchuk’s Russian-based agent, Yury Nikolaev, says the the Philadelphia Flyers and Colorado Avalanche have also made offers to try to sign the unrestricted free agent left wing.

The report also mentions the Islanders, who made public their desire to sign Kovalchuk Friday night. Another article on the site mentioned the Devils.

If you’re one to believe reports from a Russian website with a potentially questionable source, perhaps taking the word of Avalanche beat writer for the Denver Post Adrian Dater will help clear some things up about the Avalanche’s supposed interest in Kovalchuk as he mentioned on Twitter. Dater is the one reporter who is most involved in what’s going on in Colorado and I’d like to think that he’s got the best measurement of what’s going on with the organization.

Avalanche in NOT in on Kovy. Period, end of story. Not happening!

There in NO pursuit of kovalchuk by Avalanche. The end

Avs are not in on kovy and never were.

 As for Philadelphia’s interest, that’s perhaps the more interesting team to mention since it was reported the other day that the Flyers asked left wing Simon Gagne to waive his no-trade clause. Who better to take up the salary you’d shed by dealing Gagne than Kovalchuk as he provides more offense than Gagne and has a better ability to stay healthy than Gagne. Philadelphia reporters haven’t rushed to shoot down the rumor and are, instead, understandably intrigued by the possibility. Unlike Colorado though, the Flyers aren’t swimming in salary cap space to make such a move happen.

That said, this is all some fun speculation and idle chatter as the only things we really seem to know at all about the Kovalchuk pursuit is that the Kings, Devils and Islanders are the ones openly discussing bringing him aboard. The Kings and Islanders have the cap space to make it work easiest, meanwhile the Devils have added a couple of Kovalchuk’s friends in Anton Volchenkov and Johan Hedberg but would have to get creative in how to make the money work should it come to that.

Video: Rangers shut out red-hot Sidney Crosby and the Penguins

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The New York Rangers are likely too far behind the Washington Capitals to take any legitimate run at the Atlantic Division down the stretch.

But winners now of four straight, the Rangers have opened up a bit of a gap between them and other Eastern Conference teams in the playoff race. New York scored a 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, winners in six of their last seven games, on Wednesday.

In the process, they held a red-hot Sidney Crosby off the score sheet, which has been a difficult, sometimes impossible task for opposing teams since about the middle of December. He entered this game with a seven-game scoring streak.

(In fact, New York held No. 87 to without a shot on goal in the entire game.)

Henrik Lundqvist stopped all 34 shots he faced for the shutout.

Kevin Hayes gave the Rangers the lead in the first period, before Dominic Moore and Jesper Fast put the game away in the third.

Pittsburgh remains in the second Wild Card spot in the East. The Rangers now move three points clear of the rival Islanders for second in the Metropolitan.

Video: Wideman hearing ‘a tricky case’ as NHLPA hopes to get 20-game suspension reduced

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There is no certain timeline for when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman might rule on Dennis Wideman‘s appeal, according to a report from hockey insider Darren Dreger on NBCSN, as the Calgary Flames defenseman hopes to get his 20-game ban for hitting linesman Don Henderson reduced.

“Now, ultimately what they’re hoping from a Wideman perspective and the Players’ Association is that commissioner Gary Bettman will rule and he will reduce the number of games suspended down from 20,” said Dreger during a segment on NBCSN.

“Is he going to reduce it by three games? Five games seems a bit of a stretch. And when might he do that? There’s no timeline on this.”

Report: Coyotes shut down Vitale (concussion) for the season

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Joe Vitale will not play again this season.

The Arizona Coyotes have shut Vitale down for the remainder of the 2015-16 campaign due to “concussion-related issues,” according to a report from Sarah McLellan of azcentral sports on Wednesday.

Vitale, a 30-year-old veteran center, appeared in only one game for the Coyotes this season. That was back on Oct. 17, when he suffered a concussion and broken orbital bone in a fight with Kevan Miller of the Boston Bruins.

Sens announce Frattin, acquired in Phaneuf deal, will stick with AHL Marlies

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Matt Frattin was traded by the Leafs to Ottawa yesterday as part of the Dion Phaneuf blockbuster.

But for now, he’s staying in Toronto.

On Wednesday, Sens GM Bryan Murray announced that Frattin will remain with the Leafs’ AHL affiliate — the Toronto Marlies — on loan, but will be available for selection should Ottawa require his services down the road.

Frattin, 28, has spent all of this season with the Marlies, scoring nine goals and 22 points in 47 games. His last NHL appearance came during the ’14-15 campaign, with the Leafs.

Prior to that, the former North Dakota standout had spent time in Los Angeles and Columbus.