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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    Video: On Hockey Day in America, Auston Matthews did this . . .

    TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 11:  Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Air Canada Centre on November 11, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. The Maple Leafs defeated the Flyers 6-3.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    Born in Scottsdale, AZ., Auston Matthews has taken the NHL by storm in his rookie season as an elite talent headlining an impressive freshman class.

    Taken first overall last June, Matthews made history with four goals in his debut, surely a dizzying experience for Maple Leafs fans accustomed to heartbreak and frustration. And he really hasn’t slowed down since.

    On Sunday against the Carolina Hurricanes — and on Hockey Day in America — the 19-year-old Matthews once again put on a show, scoring his 28th goal of the season. That gave Toronto a two-goal lead.

    As he’s often done in his brief time in the NHL, this goal was of the spectacular variety, as he broke in off the left wing and, as he was getting hauled down to the ice, slid the puck five-hole on Cam Ward.

    Related: Auston Matthews is having a rookie season for the ages

    Video: After a slow start, Evander Kane is on a roll for the Sabres

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    For about a month now, Evander Kane has enjoyed a particularly productive stretch for the Buffalo Sabres.

    Kane scored with 5.6 seconds remaining in the first period of Sunday’s game versus the Chicago Blackhawks, converting on a nifty pass from Jack Eichel and going top shelf on Scott Darling.

    He now has goals in three straight games, and 15 points in 14 games as the Sabres have fought their way back into the playoff race in the Eastern Conference.

    Of course, this latest run comes just before the trade deadline, and Kane’s name has consistently been in speculation about a possible move — in addition to off-ice issues. While GM Tim Murray has said earlier this month that he’s not actively shopping Kane, he also didn’t absolutely rule out trading the 25-year-old left winger, now into his second season in Buffalo.

    (Murray: “Is there a crazy deal that somebody could throw at me that would force me to do it? I guess there is.”)

    Most impressive about Kane’s numbers — remember he missed time earlier this season with a rib injury and then had a slow start, which drew the ire of the coach — is that he’s done the vast majority of his scoring, 20 of 21 goals, at five-on-five.

    WATCH LIVE: Bruins at Sharks

    BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 9: Dominic Moore #28 of the Boston Bruins defends Brent Burns #88 of the San Jose Sharks during the first period at TD Garden on February 9, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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    The Boston Bruins are back from their bye week, looking to continue a three-game winning streak since Bruce Cassidy took over as head coach from Claude Julien.

    The Bruins can extend their streak Sunday, when they visit the San Jose Sharks (8:30 p.m. ET). You can check out the game on NBCSN or online with NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

    CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

    Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:

    The NHL’s bye week experiment is still a work in progress

    Pre-game reading: Are the Bruins and Avalanche on verge of trade?

    Sharks have reason to wait on Thornton, Marleau extensions

    Video: Trouba called for a hit to the head on Stone

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    Jacob Trouba could be getting a call from the NHL Department of Player Safety for a hit to the head of Ottawa Senators forward Mark Stone.

    The incident occurred during the third period of Sunday’s game, as Stone was passing the puck after he entered the zone. Trouba stepped up and delivered a high hit, resulting in only a minor penalty for an illegal check to the head.

    Stone, who dealt with a concussion that was reported in September, remained down on the ice before eventually going to the dressing room.

    As you can see from the video, Senators coach Guy Boucher was furious officials on the ice decided this was only worth a minor for Trouba.