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: Flyers, Bolts confirm 3-on-3 OT is pretty much the greatest thing ever

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Well, the NHL’s two new initiatives for ’15-16 seem to be going swimmingly.

Not long after Ottawa successfully made the second-ever coach’s challenge, fans got their first look at 3-on-3 overtime.

And what a look it was.

In the span of 137 seconds, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers combined for eight shots on goal, a few breakaways, some tremendous saves — including one on a penalty shot — and, finally, Jason Garrison‘s game-winning goal on a breakaway from center, giving the Bolts a 3-2 win.

It was, in a word, fun.

Lots of fun.

A quick sampling of reviews:

Of course, not everybody was a fan:

Now, to temper things a bit — this was the first time we’ve seen 3-on-3 with something on the line, so there was a novelty factor at play. There’s also no guaranteeing future OT sessions will be as exciting as this.

But none of that takes away from the fact 3-on-3 made for appointment viewing, and immense entertainment value. The prospect of future games like this? That’s pretty exciting.

In Jets return, Burmistrov delivers headshot to Bergeron (Updated)


Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.

Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:

Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).

The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.

Update: Bergeron stayed in the game, but B’s head coach Claude Julien was none too pleased with the hit. Following the game, he called for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to look at it…