KHL team SKA St. Petersburg attempts to re-enter the Ilya Kovalchuk sweepstakes

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for russiakovalchuk.jpgThere’s no telling how interested Ilya Kovalchuk would be in playing for the KHL, but that didn’t stop the deep-pocketed SKA St. Petersburg club from renewing their interest in the star sniper.

Puck Daddy’s Dmitry Chesnokov reports that the team got in touch with Kovalchuk’s Russian agent Yuri Nikolaev soon after word got out that the NHL’s decision to reject his 17-year, $102 million contract was upheld. Here is what Nikolaev said to Chesnokov regarding the KHL team’s new (or perhaps old?) offer.

What options did [the club] offer?

“Everything is up to Ilya: anything from one to eight years. I like the fact that SKA is holding the solid position they took from the very beginning of the negotiations. Regardless of what is going on in America. I like how the team management is acting in this negotiation process. They are very straight. No one is trying to blackmail us. There is a position — ‘it’s your choice.’ If we want to change something, that’s fine to [change] it either way. It’s very flexible and right.”

While I wouldn’t be shocked if Kovalchuk & Co. were using the KHL simply to improve his “bargaining power,” it never hurts to take a look at every option possible. While the rival Russian league does have a salary cap of its own, the article points out that exceeding it would simply force SKA St. Petersburg to pay a luxury tax (something the NHL should consider instituting if the new Collective Bargaining Agreement doesn’t end the hockey world as we know it).

This Kovalchuk story has more legs than a dog pound and – even if many of the details seem tedious or even redundant – we will keep you up to date with the latest news, statements and scuttlebutt.

Calm, then storm: Penguins, Senators trade Game 7’s goals in 20 seconds

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Here’s hoping that you didn’t take a poorly-timed break in the second period.

For much of Game 7, the Ottawa Senators have been able to slow down the Pittsburgh Penguins, resulting in a contest that went scoreless for what sometimes felt like ages.

Chris Kunitz changed that, long after missing on a golden opportunity shortly after Mike Sullivan decided to put him on Sidney Crosby‘s line. Kunitz finished a nice rush play to make it 1-0 9:55 into the second. Check out that goal below.

Guy Boucher didn’t have to deploy “attack mode” very long, as Mark Stone stunningly tied it up 1-1 just 20 seconds later. That surprising tally can be seen in the clip above this post’s headline.

Who’s playing for Penguins, Senators in Game 7

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We finally know the lineups for the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Pittsburgh’s tweaks are most interesting, which isn’t a huge surprising considering the consistent inconsistency bred by their injury issues.

The Penguins will get Conor Sheary and Justin Schultz back in the mix. Despite showing a lot of energy warming up, Patric Hornqvist isn’t good to go. Here are the full Penguins personnel notes; also realize that this is Matt Murray‘s birthday.

Ottawa places Chris Kelly back in, getting the nod over Tommy Wingels and Colin White. Kelly’s had some experience in these scenarios.

You can watch Game 7 live on NBCSN. The game can also be viewed online and via the NBC Sports App. Here is the livestream link.

Sabres confirm signing defenseman Antipin; Is his KHL teammate Lee next?

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The Buffalo Sabres announced the signing of defenseman Victor Antipin* on Thursday, confirming rumors that surfaced more than once this month.

Antipin, 24, enjoyed a solid season in the KHL with Magnitogorsk Metallurg. Even so, the signing might be interesting if it serves as an appetizer for the Sabres bringing in Antipin’s teammate from Metallurg, Chris Lee.

On one hand, Lee is 36 and couldn’t make the jump fromt he AHL to the NHL in previous opportunities (most reently with the Penguins’ farm system in 2009-10). On the other, he had an eye-popping 2016-17 season in the KHL: 65 points in 60 games as a defenseman.

Lee’s previous numbers aren’t as outrageous, but still quite good, at least form a scoring standpoint.

While Lee’s possible addition is a situation to watch, there’s some excitement about Antipin.

“Victor is a well-rounded defenseman who has played in all situations at the pro level,” Sabres GM Jason Botterill said. “His mobility and puck-moving skills make him a perfect match for what we’re hoping to build with our defense corps next season.”

Granted, there’s some debate about his ceiling.

Still, for a Sabres team that badly needs help on the blueline, this addition – or eventually these additions – could provide a nice boost.

* – The Sabres’ releases feature his name spelled “Victor.” Other outlets, including hockeydb, have it as “Viktor.”

WATCH LIVE: Ottawa Senators vs. Pittsburgh Penguins – Game 7

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Will it be the Ottawa Senators or Pittsburgh Penguins against the Nashville Predators in the Stanley Cup Final? We’ll find out after tonight.

Yes, it’s that time: a Game 7 to see who advances to the final round. The winner will also hold home-ice advantage in the Stanley Cup Final.

Could Erik Karlsson, Craig Anderson, and the rest of the Senators pull off an upset on the road, winning the franchise’s first Game 7? Can Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the Penguins give Matt Murray a birthday present with another Game 7 win?

Find out on NBCSN. You can also watch online and via the NBC Sports App.

Here’s what you need to know:

Ottawa Senators vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (series tied 3-3)

Time: 8:00 p.m. ET

Network: NBCSN (Stream live here)

Check out the highlights from Ottawa’s 2-1 win in Game 6

Related:

Pretty or not, Sens aim to play their game vs. Pens in Game 7

Penguins prepare for another Game 7, this time as favorites

Modern-day Senators have never won a Game 7

It’s “reasonable” to expect Schultz and Hornqvist will play Game 7