Maxim Afinogenov signs with SKA St. Petersburg in KHL

maximafinogenov1.jpgIf you’re an NHL GM and were hoping you might get to take an inexpensive flier out on Maxim Afinogenov this season, your luck just ran out. Russian newspaper SovSport is reporting this morning that Afinogenov has signed with SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL on a five-year contract (link is translated Russian). In there, there is video from a press conference introducing both Afinogenov and Denis Grebeshkov as the newest members of SKA St. Petersburg who represent two of the KHLs latest big steals from the NHL.

Losing Afinogenov from the NHL takes away one of the league’s pure offensive players. After Afinogenov had back-to-back poor seasons in 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 in Buffalo, he rebounded to have a solid 2009-2010 season in Atlanta for the Thrashers scoring 24 goals and netting 37 assists. Those 61 points were 13 more points than he had the previous two seasons combined. No wonder he was booed every time he touched the puck in Buffalo last year. That said, it appeared that Afinogenov had turned his game back around and it’s unfortunate he won’t be sticking around in the NHL to show if that was indeed the case.

In joining SKA St. Petersburg, Afinogenov joins a team that’s loaded with now former NHL talent. While former Nashville defenseman Denis Grebeshkov joined him at this press conference, Evgeni Nabokov signed with the team earlier this summer and they all will join up with former Sens and Isles centerman Alexei Yashin. If you’ll be needing a fix to see all these players, the Carolina Hurricanes will be playing an exhibition against SKA St. Petersburg during their European tour on October 4th.

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    Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

    Niklas Kronwall
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    When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

    (His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

    It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

    He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

    First, the Kronwalling:

    Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

    It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

    Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

    Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

    Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky

    Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

    It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.

    To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:

    The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)

    That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:

    They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.

    Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


    More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

    In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

    Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

    Jack Eichel
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    The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

    You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

    That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

    Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

    Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan


    Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

    While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

    In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

    The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?