Chris Chelios to play in the KHL? It’s possible

When Chris Chelios announced his retirement before the start of the season, a lot of people really thought that he was done with hockey. To those people we can’t help but have a big laugh at your expense because the new Red Wings executive adviser to the general manager is apparently snooping around at the possibility of giving it one more go.

No, seriously there’s a team with interest in the 48 year-old defenseman another chance at playing but it’s not a team in the NHL. Turns out that there’s a team in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League that wouldn’t mind having Chelios suit up for them.

The three-time Norris trophy winner confirmed to TSN on Friday that he was in negotiations with KHL club Vityaz after Russian-based website SovSports reported Thursday that Chelios’ agent, Tom Reich, had contacted Vityaz general manager and former NHL player Alex Zhamnov to let him know that his services were available.

If the name Vityaz rings a bell with you it’s because they were the team that had an all-out benches emptying brawl with Jaromir Jagr’s team, Avangard Omsk, just last January that ended their game after four minutes. Former NHL luminaries Chris Simon and Danny Markov play for Vityaz and Markov is a former Red Wings teammate of Chelios. The big question here is, is Chelios interested in playing in Russia?

While Chelios acknowledged that the two sides are talking, he admitted that at the age of 48 a signing was “not likely to happen.”

Being an executive with the Red Wings is a pretty cushy job and sure beats moving to Russia for a few months to play hockey in a league that’s not quite as exciting as the NHL. Chelios spent most of last season playing for the Chicago Wolves in the AHL and even played a handful of games for their parent club in Atlanta.

Still, you have to wonder how long Gordie Howe would’ve played for if he had the KHL to run to. Say, Gordie could still give it a go couldn’t he? How about a Chelios-Howe package deal? Let’s make this happen.

Video: Drew Doughty (mostly) avoids massive Matthew Tkachuk hit

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Hockey is such a fast sport that it’s probably not so easy to make someone your “target.” Instead, a big hit often comes down to the right combination of circumstance and timing.

Still, there’s no denying that Matthew Tkachuk is gunning for Drew Doughty (and the Kings are gunning for Tkachuk) on Wednesday.

Doughty isn’t oblivious to that notion, either, as you can see him avoid what looked like a pretty terrifying hit above.

We’ve already covered the early violence in this game, and it’s quite possible that there will be more carnage going forward. Stay tuned.

Blackhawks bolster Central lead, shine harsh light on Penguins’ struggles

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Blame it on injuries if you want, or emphasize the Chicago Blackhawks’ overall hot finish to the season. Either way, Chicago scorched the Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of 5-1, a contest that felt more or less over by the time the first period ended 4-0 in the Blackhawks’ favor.

The Blackhawks scored by committee on Wednesday, with Artemi Panarin (goal, assist) and Patrick Kane (two assists) being the headliners. Meanwhile, former Penguin Marian Hossa has quietly climbed to 25 goals on the season.

Meanwhile, the Penguins limped through this one and have now lost four consecutive games.

With this result, the Blackhawks look like close to a lock to win the Central Division title. Meanwhile, the Metro crown is virtually unthinkable for Pittsburgh, and the Penguins might also need to accept the likelihood that they may not enjoy home-ice advantage in the first round.

They’d probably accept that more easily if they can get healthier and get back on track. Wednesday was a little worrisome in those regards.

Video: An early taste of the Tkachuk-inspired violence in Kings vs. Flames

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BREAKING: the Los Angeles Kings really don’t appreciate Calgary Flames rookie-pest-forward Matthew Tkachuk thanks to that elbow on Drew Doughty (and the fallout from all … that).

Tkachuk responded by critiquing Doughty for “complaining to the media,” so there was testiness from the start.

There was jawing before the game. Then Jake Muzzin rebuked Tkachuk’s kind offer for a fight. Finally, Keith’s son dropped the gloves with Brayden McNabb:

It wasn’t the only bout of the opening frame, and there could be more blood to come beyond this Jarome IginlaDeryk Engelland feud:

Players from both teams better keep their heads up (and on a swivel) tonight. The Flames have to hope that this doesn’t result in injuries, judging from what happened to Johnny Gaudreau.

Avalanche sign Toews-like first-rounder Tyson Jost

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Things have been pretty bleak for the Colorado Avalanche this season, but at least they can look to a high pick in the next draft … and maybe dream about how their top pick from 2016 may pan out.

The Avs signed Tyson Jost, the 10th pick of the 2016 NHL Draft, to an entry-level contract on Wednesday. Colorado notes that he’ll jump right into some NHL action to close out this season.

It’s a nice sneak preview, as NHL insider Bob McKenzie noted on an NBCSN appearance (see above) that doing so will not burn the first year of Jost’s entry-level contract. Nice.

Even nicer? McKenzie also compares Jost favorably to … (drum-roll, though the headline spoiled it) Jonathan Toews.

Most obviously, the two both starred at the University of North Dakota. For the sake of fun, here are their numbers in their final years in the NCAA:

Jost: 16 goals, 35 points in 33 games, +17 rating (2016-17)
Toews: 18 goals, 46 points in 34 games (2006-07)

Naturally, Toews enthusiasts in particular will tell you that points aren’t everything … but maybe there are some shades of the two-way Blackhawks center there?

The Hockey News’ Ryan Kennedy raved that Jost has “man-strength already” back around the 2016 NHL Draft, as you can see in this profile.

“Jost oozes confidence and already looks like NHL captain material for the future.”

Hey, that does sound at least somewhat Toews-like, doesn’t it?

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In other signing news, the Buffalo News’ Mike Harrington reports that the Buffalo Sabres signed UMass-Lowell’s CJ Smith. More on that below.