Semyon Varlamov

PHT’s Three Duds of the Week: Varlamov, Havlat and Kaberle


Every Monday, we’ll highlight (lowlight?) three of the NHL’s biggest duds from the past week.

1st Dud: Semyon Varlamov, G, Colorado Avalanche

Key stat: 0-5-1 with an .831 save percentage in November.

And so begins the “Holy crap, I can’t believe Colorado gave up a first-rounder for this guy” narrative.

Though for time, the trade didn’t seem so bad. Varlamov started the year looking like a bonafide No. 1 by going 5-3 with a 2.44 GAA and .924 save percentage, giving Avs GM Greg “The Shermanator” Sherman a brief period of reprieve.

Emphasis on ‘brief’.

Varlamov has come crashing down to earth in spectacular fashion.  ‘”His current struggles are partially due to a fragile mindset,” writes Justin Goldman of “Although he has terrific raw skills, when he lacks traits like poise, timeliness, and consistency, one weak goal shatters Colorado’s unstable momentum.”

JS Giguere has started Colorado’s last three games (Varlamov’s last start was on Nov. 15; his last win was on Oct. 30). Head coach Joe Sacco has gone public saying Varlamov’s still his No. 1, but we’ll see if he sticks to it this week — the Avs face division rivals Vancouver and Edmonton at the Pepsi Center, where they’ve been desperate for wins all season long.

Martin Havlat, RW, San Jose Sharks

Key stat: 1PT in last 5GP

Havlat was great in his first eight games as a Shark (1G-7A) but has since struggled. His slump is being overlooked because San Jose is on fire and atop the Pacific Division, but it’s definitely noticeable — head coach Todd McLellan bumped Havlat out of the top-six and replaced him with Torrey Mitchell. Havlat’s now skating on the third line with Jamie McGinn and Michal Handzus while averaging 2.3 shots per game and 2:27 of PP time.

3rd Dud: Tomas Kaberle, D, Carolina Hurricanes

Key stat: 4pts in 21GP.

Carolina’s 3-7-0 in its last 10 and Kaberle is a huge reason why with zero goals, two assists and a minus-3 rating.

It’s almost as if the ‘Canes are better off with less Kaberle in their lives. Case in point: Kaberle played just 16:35 against Toronto on Sunday, his second-lowest ice-time total of the year — and Carolina won 3-2. Coincidence?

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


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…