Nikolay Zherdev

No parks, no problems: Nikolay Zherdev would be OK playing in Winnipeg

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While Ilya Bryzgalov had his own issues with potentially playing in Winnipeg before he landed in Philadelphia, one Russian player looking for work isn’t nearly as opposed to the Canadian city in the plains.

Nikolay Zherdev is one of the few players hanging around in free agency with the capability to add some productive offense to a team in need, and while he sits in free agency hoping to land a job with another NHL team, rather than head back to the KHL in Russia, potential landing spots for Zherdev are apparently few and far between. After all, with a history of struggling to mesh with his three previous NHL teams in Columbus, New York, and Philadelphia people start to wonder what’s up.

The guys at Broad Street Hockey were able to speak with Zherdev about where he’d like to end up and the offensively challenged Winnipeg Jets are a team he wouldn’t be outright opposed to joining.

Right now it sounds like the Winnipeg Jets and Atlant of the KHL are the two most likely options for Zherdev. Some free agents are said to be avoiding Winnipeg because of the cold weather there in the winter. Zherdev says it wouldn’t be a problem for him.

“The weather is not a priority to me. The most important thing is to get a good role on the team, a good coach and a good contract. Everything related to climate and geography doesn’t basically mean anything.”

“I met with Vityaz GM Alexei Zhamnov a little while ago, he played three years in Winnipeg. He said it’s very cold and a lot of snow there in the winter, which just makes it an ideal place for hockey. Great!”

“Manitoba doesn’t scare me. I wasn’t born in Africa afterall.”

Many a man has said that winter in Manitoba doesn’t scare them only to find themselves frozen while hanging on Portage & Main Street downtown while the winds tear at their soul.

All right so that hasn’t happened either and with Zherdev being from Russia, complaining about the cold and winter would seem a bit odd. Yes, it was odd when Bryzgalov did so too but at least he’d spent his entire NHL career in southern California and Arizona. You can get a bit spoiled that way.

The important take away from what Zherdev says is that he’ll take a job anywhere as long as the situation and the money are right. Finding both of those out on the market now might prove to be difficult for him. As mentioned, he’s found a way to frustrate coaches in three different NHL cities from Ken Hitchcock in Columbus to both Tom Renney and John Tortorella with the Rangers to Peter Laviolette in Philly. With three Stanley Cup winning coaches in the mix there, that’s a tough legacy to break.

For Zherdev, he might be one guy that can’t be too picky about who has interest in him, if there’s anyone at all.

Video: Beagle gets stick stuck in visor

Beagle
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Through 40 minutes of action in Game 1 of the second round series between Pittsburgh and Washington and we’ve already seen some big moments, along with a pretty unusual one.

Beagle ended up with a stick lodged into his visor towards the end of the second frame. He tried to get it out himself, but ended up having to go to the bench for assistance. You can see that below:

Stamkos close to game shape, but return might be weeks or months away

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos (91) competes in the hardest shot competition at the NHL hockey All-Star game skills competition Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
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Steve Stamkos began to practice again on Tuesday and he was back out there on Wednesday and Thursday, which some might interpret as him being close to returning. It seems premature to say that definitively.

“It could be weeks. It could be months,” Stamkos said of his timetable, per ESPN. “That’s the tough part.”

The problem isn’t getting back into game shape after undergoing vascular surgery in early April. He feels he’s already close to reaching that objective. The issue is that Stamkos is on blood thinners, which prevents him from taking any contact. It remains to be seen how long he’ll be on blood thinners.

For what it’s worth, Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy underwent the same surgery and was out for two months and the original timetable provided on April 4 for Stamkos was one-to-three months. So based on that, it sounds like it would be surprising if he returned anytime soon.

Bergeron, Kesler, Kopitar named Selke finalists

Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron celebrates after scoring against the Montreal Canadiens during the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016, in Montreal. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press via AP)
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Will Patrice Bergeron join Bob Gainey as the only players to have ever won the Selke Trophy four times?

That’s a distinct possibility after the Bruins center was named as a finalist along with Anaheim’s Ryan Kesler and Los Angeles’ Anze Kopitar.

The Selke Trophy honors the league’s top defensive forward and for three of the last four years, that distinction has gone to Bergeron. However, Kesler and Kopitar have been popular with the voters of this award as well.

Kopitar has finished second in the voting in each of the previous two campaigns while Kesler won back in 2011, though he finished outside of the top-five in each of the last three years prior to the 2015-16 campaign.

Among the trio, Kesler excelled this season on the draw with a 58.5% success rate, which was good for second in the league among forwards who took at least 200 faceoffs. Bergeron was up there too, winning 57.1% of his draws while Kopitar posted a 53.5%. Meanwhile, Bergeron ranked seventh in the NHL with 67 takeaways compared to Kesler’s 39 and Kopitar’s 43. Where Kopitar stood out was in plus/minus as he finished second in the league at plus-34. Kesler was plus-five and Bergeron was plus-12.

Kopitar similarly led the trio with a 57.4% Corsi For versus Bergeron’s 55.9% and Kesler’s 52.9%.

Capitals get Orpik back for series opener

Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik (44) celebrates his goal with teammates on the bench during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the New Jersey Devils, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016, in Washington. The Capitals won 4-3. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
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Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik missed half of Washington’s first round series, but he’s back in time for the opener against his former team.

Orpik last played on April 18 and was regarded as questionable going into tonight’s contest against Pittsburgh. He’s expected to be paired with John Carlson throughout the contest.

Washington’s other projected pairings are Karl Alzner and Matt Niskanen as well as Dmitry Orlov and Nate Schmidt.

Orpik was limited to 41 games during the 2015-16 regular season, but when he did play he averaged 19:48 minutes per contest. He also recorded 125 hits and 102 blocked shots despite missing half the season. The 35-year-old blueliner got his start with Pittsburgh and played in 703 regular season contests with them and an additional 92 postseason contests. This is his second season with Washington.