For years, it seemed like Alexander Semin and Alex Ovechkin would be inexorably linked. Both are committed to playing for Russian during international tournaments and cut their teeth in the NHL with the Washington Capitals. Tarik El-Bashir reports that the dangling duo will represent Russia in the 2012 World Hockey Championships after losing to the New York Rangers in Game 7 on Saturday, so the tradition continues … for now.
Going forward, Semin and Ovechkin might only play on the same side – or even in the same league – when they play for Russia, though. While Ovechkin is locked down for the rest of his prime with Washington, Semin faces an uncertain future as an unrestricted free agent.
It’s hard to imagine the Capitals signing him again after handing him two one-year deals, especially since the team is shifting to a defensive-minded system that even his greatest defenders would agree doesn’t amplify his skill set. Any number of NHL teams might be interested in acquiring his services (and thus ignoring possibly unfair criticisms about how much he “cares”), but with the new provisions introduced by the KHL, there are probably a few teams in his native country who might entice him with home cooking and tax breaks as well.
Overall, the courtship of Semin might be awfully interesting, but almost every reasonable sign suggests that he’ll be seeing a lot less of Ovechkin in the near future.
Then again, a lot can change between now and July 1.
As PHT’s mentioned before, the Florida Panthers stand as a fascinating contrast between youth and experience.
Let’s not kid ourselves, though; fresh faces usually beat out gray beards, at least when it comes to teams that are still trying to build toward contender status.
While it’s by no means official, two Panthers beat writers – the Miami Herald’s George Richards and the Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Harvey Fialkov – report that the Panthers are likely to pass on Martin Havlat.
It wasn’t just about the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau and Nick Bjugstad leading the charge. Other young Panthers (maybe most notably Quinton Howden and Connor Brickley) made the team, thus making Havlat less necessary.
One would assume that it might be tough for the 34-year-old to find work, at least if he insists upon only an NHL deal.
Health issues continue to dog him, but he’s no longer one of those guys who tantalizes with talent when he is healthy enough to play.
Havlat also doesn’t really bring much to the table defensively. While other veterans can kill penalties and show a little more verstaility, Havlat’s greatest selling point is scoring.
Could this be it for a solid career that may nonetheless end with a “What if?” or two?
Considering all of the controversy surrounding the 41-game suspension for Raffi Torres, some might have lost track of the guy who received that hit: Jakob Silfverberg.
The good news is that, at the moment, it seems like he’s OK.
The Anaheim Ducks announced that he skated on his own and will be involved in the team’s next practice:
That falls in line with some of the fall-out from the hit, as head coach Bruce Boudreau let out a relieved “thank goodness” at the young forward seemingly dodging a bullet.
Here’s video of the hit and the suspension decision:
Silfverberg, 24, enjoyed a nice breakout in 2014-15, especially during the playoffs.
Keep in mind that injuries can sometimes crop up later than expected, especially potential head injuries/concussions. Still, it seems like the initial reaction is that the damage was minimal.