Alexei Yashin update: Agent claims that one NHL team sent an offer

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Earlier today, we discussed the far-fetched chance of Alexei Yashin returning to the NHL for the 2011-12 season. For the sake of discretion, we’d like to reiterate just how unlikely it would be to see the oft-criticized Russian center back in the league. (Dobber Hockey’s amusing “projection” of his NHL stats serves as a good indicator of the long odds.)

That being said, it’s still an amusing hypothetical situation to discuss on a slow day in mid-July. Yashin is looking for a new contract, after all, so it’s not like an NHL return is impossible.

Puck Daddy’s Dmitry Chesnokov is often a great source of information on Russian hockey player news, whether he’s running an interview or translating reports that would be indecipherable for folks who admit that English is their first (and only) language. Chesnokov translated a report from Sovetsky Sport in which Yashin’s agent Mark Gandler claims that he received an offer from one NHL team.

Is there an interest in Alexei from the NHL?

“We have already received one offer.”

From the Islanders?

“I will not discuss what the club is. We are considering the expediency of the offer.”

Gandler added:

“We will meet with Alexei this week for the first time. We will discuss everything. We are not in a hurry. At this moment we have not had any serious negotiations with any club. It would have been unreasonable to do that until we are sure that everything is good health wise. As far as the leagues are concerned, we will look at both sides [the NHL and the KHL].”

Chesnokov points out the legitimate possibility that this supposed NHL interest is just a negotiating ploy, reminding us that Gandler tried to create a similar stir last year. Chesnokov also tabs foreign team Avtomobilist as a club that might be interested in keeping Yashin overseas.

So, again, it’s safe to say that Yashin’s NHL return would be a long shot. It’s like investing in an old sports car that certainly drives fast and loud, but has enough issues in its repair history to indicate that it is a lemon. If he wants to come back, the price would have to be right for both sides and both sides would need to be comfortable with that situation.

It’s still an entertaining scenario to imagine – even if it’s from a pure rubbernecking standpoint – though, isn’t it?

Video: This Kane-to-Panarin goal is all sorts of ridiculous

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When people were arguing against Artemi Panarin‘s Calder case, they often discounted his work because of Patrick Kane‘s brilliance (at least when they weren’t focusing on age questions).

It always felt a little unfair to Panarin.

Do we blame a great wide receiver playing with an adept quarterback? Sure, it’s an interesting discussion to have, but it seems fairly clear that there’s a symbiotic relationship between Panarin and Kane.

One could see that plainly in a 1-0 goal for the Chicago Blackhawks against the Pittsburgh Penguins that … admittedly was driven by Kane’s almost audacious creativity and skill.

But still, Panarin has 26 goals this season because he’s really good, too. This season has been a nice showcase for such thoughts, and a reminder that – like most great combinations – they make each other better.

(Seriously though, Kane was out of his mind there.)

‘Old Time Hockey’ video game takes a bit of an early beating from reviewers

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From the sound of things, “Old Time Hockey” is a video game with a lot of heart, but maybe not the skills to make it to the big time.

While “NHL 17” is pumped out by publishing giant EA Sports, this title is very much an independent labor of love by a company called V7 Entertainment. Puck Daddy’s Sean Leahy provided a great interview with the developers here. It’s worth noting that the game reminds one of 8-bit titles in another way: lacking an NHL license, these teams are instead fictional. This isn’t necessarily a drawback as much as it provides the title with its own unique “flavor.”

It’s hard not to get behind a scrappy development, especially in an age where sports video game options are so scarce. Some leagues barely see any licensed games any longer (see: the MLB, which feels woefully misrepresented these days), and the arcade-style that “Blades of Steel” and other old-school games popularized is even tougher to come by.

Combine these factors with an aesthetic inspired by “Slap Shot” and “Old Time Hockey” seems like it could really scratch an itch … except, it sounds like the puck missed the net.

So far, reviews are pretty mixed for the title, which is currently on PC and Playstation 4 (with planned releases on Xbox One and Nintendo Switch).

While there are a few good reviews here and there, the general reception is of disappointment.

A Sporting News review states that “the promising premise falls apart quickly.” Game Informer slams a “slew-footed story mode.” PC Gamer notes that, with EA not releasing an NHL game on that platform since 2008, there was a need here … but it wasn’t met.

Does that mean there’s no fun to be had? Not necessarily, but it’s a bummer that the game might be off the mark, especially since V7 Entertainment seems to have its heart in the right place.

Then again, maybe those who want that “NHL 94” fix merely need to dig a little. As this Vice article points out, there’s still an active community playing the sort of game that scratches the itch that “Old Time Hockey” – perhaps – can’t quite reach.

WATCH LIVE: Blackhawks at Penguins – Wednesday Night Rivalry

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The latest edition of NBCSN’s Wednesday Night Rivalry presents quite the treat: the Chicago Blackhawks at the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Both teams are at 103 standings points and each squad already punched a ticket to the playoffs. Even so, they’re dealing with mini-slumps that they’d like to work out tonight.

For all we know, this could be a preview of what would be one extremely fun, high-profile 2017 Stanley Cup Final. Either way, it’s a showcase of two premiere franchises brimming with star power.

You can watch on NBCSN, online and via NBC Sports App. Click here for the livestream.

Yes, NHL will share protected, available player lists for expansion draft

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We can debate all day how much the NHL, Vegas Golden Knights and others involved really want to do this, but they’re making the right choice with the expansion draft nonetheless. The league will make protected and available players lists available at the same time they’re shared with teams, according to NHL.com’s Nick Cotsonika.

(The NHL tweeted out as much, too.)

Could this lead to feelings being hurt or perhaps even certain sneaky deals being scuttled? Perhaps, but those are headaches that management should be expected to absorb.

The bottom line is that an expansion draft is a dream come true for armchair GMs, rumor enthusiasts, fantasy sports fans and … really, just about anyone interested in hockey. It would be a bewildering decision to try to keep all of this information locked down, even for a league that frequently garners a reputation for choosing comfort over entertainment value.

Cotsonika reports that such lists will probably be made available on June 18, though that isn’t set in stone. NHL.com’s Dan Rosen also backs this up as a possible date.

(If you’re the type to take off work if a trade deadline was exciting, you might want to start drumming up excuses/putting aside vacation time/practicing your best “I’m sick” voice just in case …)

Cap Friendly provides a handy timeline for the expansion draft process: