Ruslan Fedotenko 2

Philadephia signs Fedotenko, Gervais


Undeterred after losing out on Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, the Philadelphia Flyers inked a pair of lower profile free agents on Thursday, agreeing to terms with former Rangers forward Ruslan Fedotenko and ex-Tampa Bay blueliner Bruno Gervais.

Fedotenko agreed to a one-year deal worth $1.75 million while Gervais inked a two-year contract worth $1.65 million ($825,000 per season.)

Fedotenko, 33, returns to the city where he began his career in 2000. The Ukrainian winger spent two years in Philadelphia before playing for the Lightning, Islanders, Penguins and Rangers. He won Stanley Cups in both Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh.

“Ruslan is a good two-way forward that can play either wing and will bring experience and depth to our forward group,” said Flyers GM Paul Holmgren.

Gervais, 27, spent last year with the Lightning after starting his career with the Islanders. His best stretch of play came during a two year span between 2008-10 when he appeared in 140 contest, scoring 6G-30A-26PTS while averaging over 20 minutes a night.

It’s quite possible Gervais was talked up to Flyers brass by his new teammate and good friend, Max Talbot. The two grew up together in Quebec and played together on the same minor hockey team when they were 11 years old — Talbot says Gervais is “like a brother to me” and feels “blessed to have him and his family in my life.”

Gervais, a right-handed shot, should fit into a Philly blueline that’s in need of depth. Only six players are currently in the mix for next season — Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn, Andrej Meszaros, Luke Schenn, Nicklas Grossmann, Andreas Lilja — and of them, only Schenn is a righty.

“Bruno is a right-handed shot defenseman that has over 300 games experience in the league,” said Holmgren. “We feel both these players solidify our team.”

Friday’s loss serves as ‘harsh lesson’ for Blue Jackets

Jasper Fast, Nick Foligno, Henrik Lundqvist
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Late in the third period of Friday’s game against the New York Rangers, things were looking good for Columbus.

Brandon Saad, who the team acquired from Chicago this off-season, scored his first goal of the season to give his team a 2-1 lead with under four minutes remaining in the contest.

Unfortunately for the Jackets, that’s as good as it would get.

The Rangers responded with three unanswered goals from Oscar Lindberg, Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello to spoil Columbus’ home opener.

“When something like that happens at the end, I think we’re gonna be a better team because of it,” defenseman Ryan Murray told reporters after the game. “It’s a harsh lesson, but it’s a good one.

Luckily for Columbus, they won’t have to wait very long to try and get their revenge.

The Blue Jackets and Rangers will finish off their home-and-home series at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, which might not be such a bad thing for Columbus.

“It’s good that we get another chance tomorrow,” Saad said after Friday’s game. “We were high on emotions (after the go-ahead goal) and they scored and it took the wind out of our sails, but we have to keep playing. We have to learn to keep doing our thing, regardless of the score.”



Kings GM says Mike Richards went into ‘a destructive spiral’

Mike Richards

The Los Angeles Kings may owe Mike Richards money until 2031 (seriously), but in settling his grievance, the team and player more or less get to turn the page.

Not before Kings GM Dean Lombardi shares his sometimes startling perspective, though.

Lombardi has a tendency to be candid, especially in the press release-heavy world of sports management. Even by his standards, his account of Richards’ “destructive sprial” is a staggering read from the Los Angeles Times’ Lisa Dillman.

“Without a doubt, the realization of what happened to Mike Richards is the most traumatic episode of my career,” Lombardi said in a written summation he provided to the Los Angeles Times. “At times, I think that I will never recover from it. It is difficult to trust anyone right now – and you begin to question whether you can trust your own judgment. The only thing I can think of that would be worse would be suspecting your wife of cheating on you for five years and then finding out in fact it was true.”

Lombardi provides plenty of eyebrow-raising statements to Dillman, including:

  • He believed he “found his own Derek Jeter” in Richards, a player who “at one time symbolized everything that was special about the sport.”
  • Lombardi remarked that “his production dropped 50 percent and the certain ‘it’ factor he had was vaporizing in front of me daily.”
  • The Kings GM believes that he was “played” by Richards.

… Yeah.

Again, it’s a powerful read that you should soak in yourself, even if you’re unhappy with the way the Kings handled the situation.

Maybe the most pressing of many lingering questions is: will we get to hear Richards’ side of the story?