St. Louis Blues sign former Avs winger Marek Svatos to one-year deal

Late this summer, I wondered why it seemed like there wasn’t a single NHL team (not even the Colorado Avalanche or a cap space-poor contender) who was interested in adding Marek Svatos to the fold. Sure, he isn’t a defensive dynamo and there are people out there who are better at what he does best, but players with puck skills are always at a premium, right?

Instead, Svatos signed with ex-NHLer magnet/KHL team Avangard Omsk, a team for which he scored three goals and five assists for eight points in 19 games. It seemed like he was fading into Russian elite league obscurity this season, but word is that the injury-depleted St. Louis Blues signed Svatos to a one-year contract today.

Now, there is some speculation that Svatos might have to clear waivers to join the Blues (much like Evgeni Nabokov might need to if an NHL team tries to acquire him).

We’ll keep you informed if another hockey club decides to snatch Svatos, especially since the financial terms of the single season salary have not been revealed. As you may know, signing a player who must clear waivers to a cheap deal encourages another team to snatch said athletes at a bargain price.

Assuming that he does end up with the Blues, the team reports that he’ll wear number 40 (the same digits he wore with the Avalanche). What kind of player are the Blues (potentially) getting? Well, he had a rough year in 2009-10 (seven goals and four assists for 11 points and a -13 rating), but he does have one 32-goal, 50-point season to go along with three other 30-point campaigns in which he never played more than 69 games.

So he’s injury-prone and won’t exactly be an elite two-way forward, but the Blues added a guy who can score his fair share of goals. If – and this keeps with the team’s other forwards, apparently – he can stay healthy, of course.

Video: Evgeni Malkin leaves Oilers spinning

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Yes, there’s a lot of drama surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins, whether it’s founded on serious problems or merely speculation.

It’s easy to get swept up in all of that and ignore the fact that, hey, they still have Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. Those two can really heal wounds with their on-ice play, and in Saturday’s case, Malkin is taking over against the Edmonton Oilers.

His spin-o-rama goal above was a real jaw-dropper. He also scored Pittsburgh’s second tally:

These highlights feel like Malkin’s way of saying “It’s going to be just fine.”

Lightning’s first fight this season: Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo

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Fighting is down more or less across the board in the NHL, but the Tampa Bay Lightning might be the franchise least interested in dropping the gloves.

Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo already has some name recognition to it, yet it gets some bonus points for being the Bolts’ first fighting major of 2015-16.

It … probably loses those bonus points in being run-of-the-mill.

Hey, be fair; the Lightning are clearly out of practice.

Oilers GM doesn’t want to force a trade for the sake of a trade

Peter Chiarelli

It must be a helpless feeling to sit idly by while your team continues to flail, but such emotions are what opposing GMs love to prey on.

Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli hasn’t been around through much of the suffering for this hapless franchise, yet that doesn’t mean he’s immune to the calls for improvement. To his credit, he’s not buckling under that pressure.

You can see and hear his full comments below:

If you don’t feel like playing the video, the message is simple enough.

Chiarelli isn’t happy with Edmonton’s record – he hasn’t “seen progression” in ways that he was expecting, but again … he doesn’t want to force moves.

Long story short, he can “sleep at night,” even if he’s disappointed.

Is he right to take a relaxed approach, though? Maybe it’s time to blow up a part of what isn’t working? Have some fun armchair GM’ing on this one.

Slump busters: Simmonds, Couturier end long scoring droughts in win over Rangers


It’s been a good few days to be a fan of the Philadelphia Flyers, as their team delivered not once, but twice during Thanksgiving weekend.

The Flyers picked up a 3-2 OT win over the Predators on Friday before shutting out the New York Rangers, 3-0, on Saturday.

It was a good afternoon for three players in particular.

Both Wayne Simmonds and Sean Couturier ended long scoring slumps.

Simmonds’ two goals were his first in seven games, while Couturier scored for the first time in his last 13 contests.

Goaltender Steve Mason also had a solid outing against the Rangers.

The 27-year-old turned aside all 24 shots he faced including this great save on Dominic Moore:

The Flyers lost defenseman Nick Schultz to an upper-body injury in the first period after he took a big hit from Dylan McIlrath.

Luke Schenn defended his fallen teammate by dropping the gloves with McIlrath, which didn’t go unnoticed by his teammates.

The Rangers are now on a season-high three-game losing streak. Their lack of effort has to be concerning for their head coach Alain Vigneault.

The Flyers outshot the Rangers 30-14 over the final 40 minutes.